International Women’s Day 2021

International Women's Day 2021. Credit: UN Women/Yihui Yuan.
Image: UN Women/Yihui Yuan

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Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. To get us there, the world needs women at every table where decisions are being made.

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This year, the theme for International Women’s Day (8 March), “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.

Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life drives progress for everyone. Yet, women are still underrepresented in public life and decision-making, as revealed in the UN Secretary-General’s recent report. Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years.

Women are also at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, as scientists, doctors and caregivers, yet they get paid 11 per cent less globally than their male counterparts. An analysis of COVID-19 task teams from 87 countries found only 3.5 per cent of them had gender parity.

When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world. Yet, women under 30 are less than 1 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide. 

This is why, this year’s International Women’s Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all. The Generation Equality Forum, the most important convening for gender equality investment and actions, kicks off in Mexico City from 29 – 31 March, and culminates in Paris in June 2021. It will draw leaders, visionaries, and activists from around the world, safely on a virtual platform, to push for transformative and lasting change for generations to come.

Learn more about the Generation Equality Forum, meet the activists, and get inspired by stories of women leaders we admire.

Event: United Nations Observance of International Women's Day 2021

UN Women is pleased to invite you to the United Nations observance of International Women’s Day 2021. The theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum”. Learn more ►

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Generation Equality rising
Generation Equality Rising
Every day, through our actions, and in the way we lead, talk, question and act, we challenge norms, transform habits, change laws, take action and inspire others to create a world without gender-based discrimination. We are Generation Equality rising.

Generation Equality Forum

The Generation Equality Forum, a milestone for gender equality investment and actions, kicks off in Mexico City from 29 – 31 March, and culminates in Paris in June 2021. It will draw leaders, visionaries, and activists from around the world, via a safe virtual platform, to push for transformative and lasting change for generations to come.

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Celebrate International Women’s Day with us online! If you haven’t already, today is the day to make a commitment to women everywhere to stand up for human rights and join the fight for an equal future. Join the virtual activism with #GenerationEquality and use #IWD2021 to join the conversation. You can download slogans, fun GIFs and more in our social media package here: https://trello.com/b/pD8AFd1o


See our coverage of International Women's Day in the past: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012