International Women's Day

  • International Women's Day recognizes and commemorates achievements towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

  • Women play a vital role in advancing agricultural development and food security.

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  • Global stability, peace, and prosperity depend on protecting the rights of women and girls around the world.

“The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women. If it’s educating girls, if women have equals rights, that country is going to move forward. But if women are oppressed and abused and illiterate, then they’re going to fall behind.” - President Barack Obama

On March 8, 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day. Two years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. Now celebrated around the world, International Women's Day recognizes and commemorates achievements towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

On International Women’s Day, USAID is celebrating and advancing the incredible potential of women. Global stability, peace, and prosperity depend on protecting the rights of women and girls around the world. Additionally, research shows that progress in women’s employment, health, and education can lead to greater economic growth and stronger societies. And when women and men are equally empowered as political and social actors, governments are more representative and effective.

Empowering Women and Girls

To end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies, we must empower women and girls. Out of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, 70 percent are women and girls. Also, women continue to be underrepresented in government, with only 20 percent of women worldwide participating as members of parliament or national government. To address these gaps, our programs in over 80 countries are investing in women for better development results.

In Kenya  Uganda, and Rwanda, we’ve committed to accelerating economic empowerment for girls through a $29 million partnership with the Nike Foundation and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development. Through the U.S. government’s Let Girls Learn initiative, USAID supports adolescent girls by addressing barriers that impede learning and improving access to quality education. In Ukraine, we’re training Members of Parliament on gender equality issues and oversight. This resulted in an amendment signed into law requiring a minimum of 30 percent representation of women as part of political party election lists. In Nigeria and Kenya, we’re closing the Internet gender gap through a public-private partnership to bring 600,000 women online in the next three years, aiming to help women generate income, participate politically, and extend their support networks. And we're trying to bridge the mobile gender gap so women can utilize the financial, educational, and health benefits mobile technology offers.

On International Women's Day, we recognize the all too often unacknowledged contributions of women and girls—from teachers in Liberia working to restore basic education, to scientists in Thailand propelling environmental research, to women improving agribusiness in Ethiopia.

 
 

Infographics:

Why Invest in Women

Resources for Empowerment in Women's Lives

Let Girls Learn

Violence in Women's Lives

Women's Control of their Lives

Learning Squared

Learning Out of Poverty

Saving Moms at Birth

Profiles:

Syrian Women: Critical Partners for Peace

Women Become Agricultural Leaders in Paraguay

Ghana: A Woman's Job Means More Than a Paycheck

Last updated: March 03, 2015

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