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March 8th is International Women’s Day!

“Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Those of who work for peace know that women’s inclusion in all phases of peace processes — from prevention through reconciliation — is essential.  Recent research backs this up by showing that women’s participation increases the chance that peace will last for 2 years by 20% and that it will last for 15 years by 35% (1).  Despite this research and despite a number of UN Security Council resolutions since October 2000 mandating the inclusion of women, women are often excluded from peace processes.  Progress is being made, but slowly.  To facilitate peace, it is in our best interest to ensure women’s full participation in all aspects of peacemaking and peacebuilding.

How did International Women’s Day start?

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

See the UN Secretary-General’s message on International Women’s Day, “From the Glass Ceiling to a Carpet of Shards”

#IWD2015 #DíadelaMujer #JournéedelaFemme #Planet5050


1 See Paffenholz, T. 2014, “Civil Society and Peace Negotiations: Beyond the Inclusion – Exclusion Dichotomy,” Negotiation Journal, 30, 1