To commemorate this day we’ve compiled some of the UN’s work in supporting women and girls this year.
The United Nations has supported the rights of women since its founding charter. Among its purposes it pledged to, “Achieve international co-operation…in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”
Since then, the United Nations has made progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment with figures boasting that two thirds of countries in developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education.
The UN’s HeForShe campaign, launched by everyone’s favourite Brit Emma Watson, also propelled feminism into the mainstream media several years ago where it has remained ever since.
Yet women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence across the globe. So today, as UN turns 72 years old, we celebrate the UN’s continued support for the advancement of women.
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
Falling on the 6th of February, the focus for 2017 was; Building a solid and interactive bridge between Africa and the world to accelerate ending FGM by 2030.
FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of women and girls human rights with no medical benefits. Globally, it is estimated that 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut for cultural, religious or social reasons. Progress has been made since 2007 but the UN continues to push forward.
International Women’s Day
The UN uses the 8th of March to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women. It is also a day which focuses on the continuing need for gender parity. It has become a day in which girl power rules and social media comes alive with women sharing their strength and success, motivating one another in a truly inspirational fashion.
The UN’s theme this year focused on, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. It emphasised fighting the pay and leadership gaps prevalent in today’s society.
World Day against Trafficking in Persons
This year, on the 30th of July, ‘Act to Protect and Assist Trafficked Persons’ was the focal point of the day. The theme highlights the mass movement of refugees and migrants caused by conflict and natural disasters and the subsequent risk of human trafficking.
Women and girls account for 71% of human trafficking victims. As many are never identified providing aid is problematic and often victims struggle to access it themselves.
VAWG – Violence against Women and Girls
On the 22nd of September the UN and EU launched a global effort to end violence against women. Violence against Women and Girls is one of the most extensive and devastating human rights violations in our world with facts and figures estimating that 35% of women and girls around the world have experienced sexual or physical abuse. Furthermore, in 2012 half of all female victims of homicide were killed by a partner or family member. Therefore, with the intention to leaving no woman or girl behind, the Spotlight Initiative has been launched to end VAWG by 2030.
The use of sexual violence during conflict as a tactic of war is reprehensible and the day was used to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world.
International Day of the Girl Child
Since 2012 the UN has dedicated the 11th of October to the Girl Child. It has inspired activism from superstars such as Beyoncé who lent her voice to the cause in their #FreedomForGirls video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BMgV8jj9IU). The young girls featured are angry, powerful and they demand change! The UN’s theme this year was EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises.
We at JAN Trust believe that the UN plays a vital role in helping to highlight the struggles that many women and girls face worldwide, including a lack of education, forced marriage, and FGM, issues that we as a charity tackle ourselves.
We work with vulnerable women and young people from marginalised backgrounds to help them overcome barriers to integration. These barriers include a lack of key skills such as English as well as social isolation, low confidence and discriminatory practices such as hate crime. Additionally, some of our service users face restrictive and harmful cultural practices such as forced marriages and FGM. Radicalisation is an additional concern experienced by many, an issue which we work hard to combat with our pioneering Web Guardians™ programme. Please donate here to help us to continue our vital work.