"Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world." ~ UN Secretary-General, António Guterres ~
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. It is also an opportunity to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and Goal number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.
This year’s theme is “The Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”. It comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change. International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population, and are being left behind in every measure of development.
We, at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that empowerment for women and girls are vital to the development of societies. Today, however apparent progress in gender equality may seem, many efforts still need to be engaged towards a society where gender equality is absolute. Towards such efforts, we, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) continue to partake in the global initiatives for enlivening the principle of gender equality. In line with this year theme “The Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”, we urge young women to avoid all harmful practices, such as: child, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation. They should be working to realise their true potential as part of a gender neutral society, and strive even harder to alleviate the hardships still being faced by fellow women, around the world.
On this International Women’s Day, let us call upon all stakeholders to be courageous to stand for gender equality and a vision of a world where all women and girls have equal opportunities and rights.
Let us join efforts to transform the momentum into action, empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
The time is now to transform women’s lives.