International Women’s Day 2016

Mar 8, 2016

Confucius taught that to put the world in order, we must begin in our own circles.

These wise words ring especially true as we reflect on International Women’s Day, Tuesday, 8 March 2016. This year each of us was challenged to “Step It Up for Gender Equality” by pledging to take action, and not just speaking words, as so often happens. Governments have made national commitments that will close the gender equality gap in support of the ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030’ campaign. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina committed to increasing opportunities and access to participate in politics, business and government. She emphasized the importance of ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, including the elimination of child marriage by 2041. The Prime Minister stated that:

“the Sustainable Development agenda offers us added impetus to bring positive change in the lives of our women and girls. We should seize this opportunity.”

As part of UNDP Bangladesh’s celebration, many colleagues pledged to make a change in their lives – either at work, at home, or in their social networks – to support women and girls in having equal opportunities and rights. Country Director Pauline Tamesis pledged to double the number of female staff in our Country Office. These commitments demonstrate how one person can make a difference. When we all take action as leaders and champions of gender parity, change will be achieved and accelerated.

UNDP staff, along with our colleagues from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Food Program (WFP), reinforced this message with a screening of ‘He Named Me Malala,” a film based on the life of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Inspiring words from Malala’s speech to the UN General Assembly, 12 July 2013:

“And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.

So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. 

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

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