The theme for International Women’s Day 2019, which takes place today being 8th March, is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
The theme 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.
The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind.
Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. It prevents them from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. From mobile banking to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, it is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape our future societies.
Putting women and girls front and centre in policy decisions and in programmes to tackle hunger and poverty is vital for reaching our goal of a Zero Hunger world by 2030. Reducing inequalities and removing barriers that exclude women from influencing development in all sectors advances food security.
“International Women’s Day reminds us about the immense and valuable contribution women make towards a more peaceful, prosperous and well-fed world,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “All around the globe, WFP programmes help empower women so they can have more opportunities to not just improve their lives, but those of their families, communities and nations.”
Gender continues to be a critical component of our work. WFP is constantly challenging the status quo and working to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through its programmes. School feeding programmes have demonstrated an increase in nutrition and education among girl students and contributed to a decrease in teen pregnancy and child marriage. Our Food for Assets projects have empowered women who now are able to work in their communities, feed their families, sell their produce and contribute towards the development of themselves and their families.