This content is originally from UN Women. International Women’s Day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.
In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, headed by Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The 2012 International Women's Day theme is "Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty." Rural women constitute one-fourth of the world’s population. They are leaders, decision-makers, producers, workers, entrepreneurs and service providers. Their contributions are vital to the well-being of families and communities, and of local and national economies.
Yet rural women’s rights, contributions and priorities have been largely overlooked. Rural women have also been hard hit by the economic and financial crisis, volatile food prices and export-driven agriculture. They need to be fully engaged in efforts to shape a response to these inter-connected crises and in decision-making at all levels.
Unleashing the potential of rural women will make a major contribution to ending poverty and hunger, and to accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and realizing sustainable development.
Rural women are key agents of change. Their leadership and participation are needed to shape responses to development challenges and recent crises.
Women are central to the development of rural areas: they account for a great proportion of the agricultural labor force, produce the majority of food grown, especially in subsistence farming, and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas. It is critical that their contributions be recognized and that their voices be heard in decision-making processes at all levels of governments, and within rural organizations.
On this day especially, Article 3 Advisors would like to honor the tireless dedication and countless contributions of women worldwide. Also, a huge thank you to women's organizations and entities, including UN Women, for their commitment to the advancement of women's rights.