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 and throughout Women’s History Month, 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.

Vision Not Victim Project

USAID and its partners work to help women in the DRC access services to heal and recover from violence, and provide economic opportunities and hope for the future. Building on this integrated programming and foundational work in communities,the IRC's Vision Not Victim Project empowers adolescent girls to envision a positive future for themselves, gain skills to make strategic life choices, and create change in their lives and communities.

Ending Extreme Poverty

Women are underutilized in the effort to promote global well-being and end extreme poverty. They are under-represented at senior levels in government and business and are a disproportionately small share of business owners, elected officials, students and peace mediators. Women offer unique perspectives and views, and women’s marginalization works to the detriment of efforts to promote sustainable development. Through President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, we’re focusing on women’s leadership in agriculture by advancing policy changes in developing countries that give women access to financial services and ownership of the very land they tend. We’ve seen that just by giving women the same access as men to land, new technologies or sources of capital, we can increase food production by as much as 30 percent and feed an additional 150 million people.

Youth

As many as 100 million young people around the world are unable to find decent work, and many more are underemployed, often in unsafe, dead-end seasonal jobs. Gender norms and expectations often prevent both women and men from reaching their full potential. Focusing on women and girls is the smartest and most strategic investment the U.S. can make to improve lives around the world. If a girl stays in school, remains healthy, and gains real skills, she will marry later, have fewer and healthier children, and earn an income that she will invest back into her family and community to help break the cycle of poverty. Between FY 2009–2011, approximately 84 million girls were able to enroll in school due to USAID assistance. According to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, “We know now that when you educate girls, or make loans to women, you improve life for their families by virtually every measure.”

Last updated: March 18, 2014

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