UN Volunteer, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Norah Ngeny (Kenya) visiting the UNDP SAFE Ecosystems Project site, Savannakhet, Lao PDR.

UN Volunteers transforming women’s lives

On 8 March 2018, we celebrate International Women’s Day, which we mark this year under the theme "Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women's Lives". To achieve the Global Goals and leave no one behind, we must speak up for gender equality & women’s rights.  We are one voice against inequality, discrimination and exclusion and the #TimeIsNow!

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day draws 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.

UNV works with all of its UN entity partners on SDG 5, gender quality. In a recent survey of UN Volunteers, 691 indicated that their assignments contribute most to SDG 5.  These 691 respondents were spread across 21 UN entity partners and 11 peacekeeping missions, with the highest number of responses coming from UN Volunteers hosted by UNDP, UNMISS, MONUSCO, UNHCR, UN Women and UNFPA. In 2018, 138 UN Volunteers are serving with UN Women to advance gender equality and to empower women and girls in 27 countries worldwide. 

The strong partnerships that UNV has – including with UN Women – are rooted in a joint commitment to the global movement for women’s rights, equality, safety and justice.  In so doing, we recognize the tireless work of people who have been central to this global push for gender equality. These individuals are often volunteers, who take the lead on gender equality by promoting reform, highlighting the complexities of the challenges facing women, influencing policies, participating in monitoring, and upholding accountability.

Join us in celebrating our UN Volunteers and other volunteers who are advancing gender issues and impacting on women's lives in rural and urban settings.  In line with Sustainable Development Goal 5, They are volunteering to safeguard the basic rights of women and girls, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination, and avail opportunities for women and girls to learn, engage and lead.

In Indonesia and Cambodia, UN Volunteers with the Partners for Prevention Joint Programme engaged local adolescents and their caregivers in preventing violence against women and girls, transform negative gender norms, prevent violence and sustain community based initiatives through volunteerism. In Rwanda, UN Volunteers are accelerating sustainable development by enhancing disaster risk reduction strategies among rural women through volunteer action. UN Volunteers are also supporting Youth Mullah Gender Volunteer Caravans in Afghanistan, where young religious leaders raise awareness of women’s rights. We feature a UN Volunteer contributing to the achievement of peace, justice and strong institutions to advance the peace process in Colombia, as part of the political, economic and social reintegration of FARC-EP ex-combatants. 

Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook, and share how you are transforming women’s lives, and tell us how you will #PressforProgress. #TimeIsNow! #IWD2018