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International Women's Day 2021

This guest blog post was written by the LWVUS United Nations Observers.

This year’s focus: Women leading through COVID-19

As the world continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations celebrates the power of women and highlights the ongoing need for equality with International Women’s Day (#IWD). International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.  

The League of Women Voters has a long history with the United Nations, dating back to its establishment in the 1940s. Currently, the League of Women Voters of the US (LWVUS) has six UN observers representing LWVUS at the UN. Essentially, the UN works through praise and confrontation. So, it's the responsibility of people across the world to pressure their own governments to adhere to the various commitments that their own governments have made at the United Nations. LWVUS-UN Observers, for example, enthusiastically supported and encouraged the United States’ rejoining of the Paris Agreement, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). 

This year’s International Women's Day theme is Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world, in celebration of tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It also lines up with the theme for the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), which takes place on March 15–26, 2021, and centers on "women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls." 

During the ongoing global pandemic, it’s especially worthy of note that the majority of nations that have been especially successful in the fight against COVID-19 and responding to its broader socio-economic impacts, are nations headed by women: Germany, Finland, Denmark, Ethiopia, New Zealand, and Iceland, for example. (Yet there are only 20 nations headed by women!).  

As you mark International Women's Day during this time of pandemic, consider the challenges that women in tech, science, math, and healthcare face every day. Consider the women and girls who face disproportionate impacts from the pandemic, including those facing greater economic impact, vast economic inequalities globally, and increased risk of domestic violence. As we consider that women and girls comprise nearly 70% of the world's poor, and COVID-19 widens that gap, we recognize how important it is for all nations to receive vaccines. And yet, some nations still have not received any vaccines at all.  

Ask yourself what you can do to help create an environment where women feel enabled to speak up, and where inequities are solved. Examine how we can best hear yet-unheard women and girls, and best recognize women who are making great scientific, civic, healthcare, humanitarian, tech, economic, peace, security, and other achievements today, lest they fall into the traditional invisibility of women in history.  

Join the conversation online today by following and using hashtags #IWD2021, #InternationalWomensDay, and #LeagueAtTheUN. 

To find additional #IWD events, visit https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day 

Happy International Women's Day!