The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace. We've come a long way since then but there is still a long way to go.
The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign runs all year long. It doesn't end on International Women's Day, visit the campaign website to learn more.
Building a gender-balanced world, doesn’t sound too difficult when you read it off a piece of paper, but the reality has been and still is something totally different. The struggles have been numerous throughout history, and you don’t have to go far to see those struggles still being fought today, by brave and courageous women around the world who deserve our gratitude, admiration and complete support.
We all have a part to play, all the time, everywhere and every day, not just today, from grass roots activism to global action, to noticing and calling out small everyday acts of prejudice. Let us strive for balance, let us notice its absence and equally celebrate its presence.
Let us remember those that still fight for equal education, equal opportunities, equal rights and the freedom of speech and self expression.
Balance is not a women's issue, it's a world issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage, gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
I would also like to take this opportunity to celebrate my international woman of the Year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is taking the dramatic political step towards changing New Zealand from a county that uses GDP (gross domestic product) to measure its success, to using the GNH (gross national happiness) index instead. I wish New Zealand every success and hope more countries take notice.
Finding happiness, joy and balance is key to help us all thrive - mentally, physically and emotionally.