International Women's Day 2014

news - 07/03/2014
Statement by Patricia O’Donovan, Director


As International Women’s Day (8th March) is observed once again throughout the world, it is important to take stock of progress made towards equality for women at work and to consider how we can better contribute to improving opportunities for women’s economic empowerment. We know that the road to equality for women at work is long and winding.  Economic, social and political crises generate backlashes and erode achievements already made. This is a real risk in many economic sectors and countries today.

The Centre joins the UN System-wide community in declaring that “Equality for Women is Progress for All” which is the theme designated by the United Nations for International Women's Day, 2014.  This theme is based on data collected across the UN System which demonstrate that equality between men and women brings real advantages: it is good for families, for societies and for economies. Equality for women also means progress for men and boys as it breaks down stereotypes that constrain them and hinder the fulfilment of many legitimate aspirations.

As an integral part of the International Labour Organization, the Centre contributes to the ILO’s well-established record of advocacy and work towards improving the status of women and recognition of their rights in the world of work. The ILO has launched a Centenary Initiative on Women at Work as one of seven initiatives in the lead up to the ILO’s 100th anniversary (2019) in order to help “equip the Organization to take up successfully the challenges of its mandate in the future.”[1] Under this initiative, the ILO is planning a major assessment of women in the world of work and is launching the process of reflection on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 2014. The Centre will be an active participant in this reflection over the coming months and years.

In 2013, the Centre participated in the first round of reporting on the UN System-wide Action Plan for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP). In its analysis of the results achieved, UN Women stated that the Centre’s “use of a gender marker used to determine the integration of gender issues in the specific implementation of courses and other capacity-building activities makes it a System-wide leader in the area of programme review.” The Centre met the requirements for ten of the 15 performance indicators and approached requirements in another four. UN Women encouraged the Centre to build on its significant successes in the area of gender equality and the empowerment of women and to set higher targets where feasible for 2014.

The improvement of women's participation in all its training activities remains an important target for the Centre. The Network of Gender Focal Points is considering new initiatives to accelerate progress on this target in 2014-15. Through our training and capacity development activities, we have a responsibility to reach out to women and to facilitate the sharing of women’s knowledge and experience across national, regional, cultural and political boundaries.

Much has been achieved – much more remains to be done!


Download the March 8th 2014 flyer.

[1] Report of the Director-General: Towards the centenary: realities, renewal and tripartite commitment, Report I(A), International Labour Conference, 102nd Session, 2013.  See also GB.319/INS/3/1, at para. 30-33.

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