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International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The 2019 theme Think equal, build smart, innovate for change focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

Echoing the priority theme of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), in 2019 we look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls.

On 8 March 2019, join us as we celebrate a future in which innovation and technology creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and gender equality.

International Women's Day pages from the UN system:

Webcast: UN Observance of IWD

Tune into the UN commemoration of International Women’s Day, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York, Friday, 8 March 2019, 10:00 am–12:30pm EST.


When: 10 a.m.-12.30 p.m. EST, Friday 8 March 2019
Where: ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, (46th St and 1st Ave), New York

The UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2019 will take place on Friday, 9 March at UN Headquarters in New York. Featuring UN officials, activists and artistes, this event will highlight innovative solutions led by the UN system and its partners to help advance gender equality and transform women’s lives. Participants include:

  • António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
  • María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President, UN General Assembly
  • Geraldine Byrne Nason, Chair, 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women,
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Venus Ilagan, Secretary-General of Rehabilitation International
  • Ellen Ochoa, Veteran Astronaut and Former Director, Johnson Space Centre
  • Lorraine Twohill, Chief Marketing Officer, Google
  • Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO, Build Change
  • Kiara Nirghin, Student, Scientist and Innovator

As part of a panel discussion on innovation and women’s empowerment, Google is premiering the trailer of a new four-part virtual reality series about women’s rights activists around the world. The four films, produced by Google in collaboration with UN Women, are set to debut on International Women’s Day both online and in a multimedia exhibit at the UN headquarters.

The event also features musical performances by Drew Olivia Tillman, Indira Mahajan, Everett Suttle and Broadway singers.

Tune in for the webcast live on: and

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    On 7 March, the media are invited to a screening of Roma, followed by a panel discussion with Aparicio, Marcelina Bautista, Secretary-General of Mexico's National Union of Workers and Domestic Workers, and Claire Hobden, ILO Technical Officer on Vulnerable Workers. The screening is organized jointly with Cine-ONU.

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    UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the event by enumerating some of the world's collective challenges, "from climate the weakening of commitment to multilateralism," stressing that "gender equality and women's rights are fundamental to addressing each of these". "We can only re-establish trust and rebuild global solidarity by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all", he maintained.


    On International Women's Day, we celebrate all the women who have had a pioneering role in advancing science and health. One of the best known was Florence Nightingale, a 19th- century statistician and founder of modern nursing, who understood the benefits of hygiene and sanitation in preventing disease.


    Think equal, build smart, innovate for change. How women's ideas create a more equitable and just world.


      On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, UN Video is pleased to send you a video message from the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The video features the Secretary-General; Ms Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General; Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women; Ms María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, the President of the General Assembly; and Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General's Youth Envoy.