Please note that all PDF documents are marked as such and will open in a new browser window.
BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
International Women’s Day 2009
04 March 2009 / 05:06

[Dateline: New York | Author:  iSeek]

Poster | Credit: Graphic Design/KSD/OD/DPI The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March) is “Women and Men United to End Violence against Women and Girls.” The theme was chosen to draw attention to the Secretary-General’s wider “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women” campaign which runs through 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

“The link with the Goals is clear,” the Secretary-General said in his message for the day. “We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women’s equality and empowerment” (full statement).

United Nations offices around the world are working with partners from government and civil society to organize dozens of special events for this year’s observance in the days leading up to and after the day itself, bringing women and men together to tackle the scourge of violence against women in all its manifestations. From Austria to Zambia, events planned include rallies, seminars, press conferences, exhibits, film screenings and concerts, involving women’s groups and ministries, schools, faith-based organizations and many others.

As in years past, the day coincides with the current session of the Commission on the Status of Women at which, this year, ministers from over 50 countries and more than 1,000 representatives of women’s groups are participating.  The 53rd session will end on 13 March. A number of parallel events are planned

CSW web site The day has been marked internationally since the 1970s.

New York events

4 March

1:15 p.m. Who Cares? The Role of Families, States, Markets and Communities in Care Provision, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)-sponsored event will provide an overview of new case study evidence from Tanzania, India and Nicaragua to draw attention to care arrangements and policies in low-income countries where widespread poverty, limited public budgets and weak state capacity place serious constraints on the functioning of both states and markets in welfare and care provisioning.

  CSW information booth | Credit: Fred Fath/iSeek 5 March

10 a.m.:  Opening ceremony with the Secretary-General, Conference Room 2.

10:45 a.m.: Panel discussion on violence against women and girls in the context of armed conflict, Conference Room 2. 
Moderator: Ms. Pamela Falk, CBS News Correspondent and Professor of International Relations and Law at Hunter College, New York.


  • Radhika Coomaraswamy,United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
  • Yakin Ertürk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
  • William Lucy, International Secretary-Treasurer of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • Imrana Jalal, human rights lawyer and advisor at the Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team

1:15 p.m.:  Launch of Database on Violence against Women in Conference Room 2.
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro will launch the SG’s database on violence against women, the first "one-stop shop" for information on measures undertaken by Member States to address violence against women, as well as available data and statistics.  Chair: Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Frank Majoor. 


  • Carolyn Hannan, Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women
  • Senator Pia Cayetano of the Philippines
  • Dubravka Šimonovic, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  • Cheryl Thomas, Advocates for Human Rights
  • Sonia Montaño: Director a.i., Division for Gender Affairs, ECLAC

1:15 p.m. Panel Discussion on Workplace Flexibility and Productivity, Conference Room 3.
Organized by the UN Focal Point for Women.

CSW information booth | Credit: Fred Fath/iSeek 6:30 p.m.: Theater Performance followed by a panel discussion, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.
The theater group Tiyatroglobal will give a performance of the play MIKA – an awareness-raising play inspired by the United Nations Secretary-General’s call to UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Moderator: Margaret Novicki, Chief, Communications Campaigns Service, Strategic Communications Division, UN Department of Public Information.


  • Paul L. King, Executive Director; Director of Theater Programs, Office of the Arts and Special Projects, New York City Department of Education
  • Julie Crosby, Producing Artistic Director, Women's Project
  • Helen E. Richardson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theater, Artistic Director, Tiyatroglobal
  • Tom Sellar, Editor of Theater magazine, Yale School of Drama and Duke University Press, and Assistant Professor (adjunct) of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama
  • Emilya Cachapero, Director of Artistic Programs, International Theatre Institute-US, Theatre Communications Group
  • Liliana Hendel, Psychologist and Feminist Journalist, Argentina

6 March

UNRISD-sponsored, full-day conference at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, to present key findings of the Research Project on the Political and Social Economy of Care. The conference will begin with keynote addresses delivered by two leading feminist thinkers - Joan Tronto and Elizabeth Jelin.

9 March

1:00 p.m.:  Group on Equal Rights for Women in the United Nations (GERWUN) event featuring guest speaker Gloria Feldt and a film screening, Conference Room 9. 

Selected activities around the world

Credit: UNAMAAfghanistan
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has launched a photo exhibition called Peace with Justice for the Women of Afghanistan.

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Buenos Aires has launched a special web site in Spanish.

UNO Baku, in close partnership with the Azerbaijani State Committee on Family, Women and Children’s Affairs and the National NGO Forum will organize a roundtable in Guba region of Azerbaijan, bringing together representatives from the government, the NGO community, the media and various UN Agencies.

Media Workshop and a march on the theme, "Partnership of men and women to end violence against women," organized by UNIC Bujumbura is organizing a media workshop and a march in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Gender, UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), UNFPA, UNIFEM and NGOs.

ECLAC clips Chile
The Division for Gender Affairs of ECLAC has prepared a set of 7 animated clips highlighting different aspects of domestic violence and a proposal to counteract the incalculable costs that violence against women implies for all humanity.
The UN Country Team is organizing a joint forum in Accra with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.
UNRIC Lima is co-organizing a public forum and a roundtable along with the NGO Association for Community Development, NGO Warmi Qusi, the Congress and the Female Secretariats from Peru's Labor Unions.

Republic of the Congo
UNIC Brazzaville, in partnership with UNFPA and UNDP, is organizing a mobile exhibition, holding discussions with young people at seven schools, and a TV programme.
CSW information booth | Credit: Fred Fath/iSeekThailand
A special event on 9 March on the theme “Gender implications of the economic crisis in Asia-Pacific” will address the need to incorporate gender considerations into both short-term and long-term policy responses to economic downturns, including stimulus packages and social protection measures, and moreover to strengthen investment in women’s empowerment.

Keynote remarks: Noeleen Heyzer, USG and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and Ms. Gwi-Yeop Son, Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative

Also participating will be the chief executive officer of THAICOM, the Director of the Thai Labour Campaign and the executive Coordinator of the Committee for Asian Women and a senior research specialist from the Thailand Development Research Institute.

A reception will be held following the formal programme, accompanied by a film and exhibition. The event is organized by the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, an interagency group co-chaired by ESCAP and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

UNIC Tunis has created a special web site in French.

Additonal UN System events worldwide