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Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.   

While progress has been made towards gender equality in recent years – female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriages have both declined, and women’s representation in political sphere is at an all-time high, we are not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030. 

And although women and girls make up half of the world’s population, they still face legal, social and economic barriers that hinder their empowerment. Many women across the globe lack agency over their sexual and reproductive health, more than a third have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded persisting inequalities by disproportionally affecting women & girls. Gender equality is essential for healthy, sustainable, resilient societies and is a cross-cutting objective: by unleashing women and girls’ untapped potential, we can make progress towards the other SDGs.  

We can dismantle systemic barriers to gender equality with strong political leadership, policy reforms and targeted investments. Individual actions from girls, women, boys and men, will help us achieve gender equality: through promoting access to reproductive health services and funding education campaigns, embracing respectful relationships and addressing biases and detrimental associations, we can deliver equal opportunity for all, enable women and girls to reach their full potential, and leverage their transformative power for sustainable development. 

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will meet for its 68th session on 11-22 March at UN headquarters in New York. As a functional commission of ECOSOC dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, CSW plays a crucial role in monitoring progress, promoting women’s rights, documenting challenges, and shaping global standards and policies to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. 

Read more about Goal 5: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/ 


This year’s International Women’s Day shines a spotlight on gender investment. Financing is a key challenge for gender equality with a staggering USD 360 billion annual deficit persisting in spending on gender-equality measures, threatening women’s and girls’ rights across all aspects of life. 

UN Women’s call to “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” highlights the need for stable and sustained financing for Goal 5. It also feeds into broader conversations on financing for sustainable development: 

The official UN International Women’s Day commemoration will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber and live streamed on 8 March 2024, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am ET. 

The ‘We the Women’ campaign will launch a Global Survey on International Women’s Day, collecting insights into the opinions and aspirations of thousands of women worldwide. The primary objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of women’s perspectives on a variety of global issues and how the international community can address them.  The key messages from the survey will be inputted into the Pact for the Future, to be adopted by Head of States and Governments at the United Nations during the September 2024 Summit of the Future. The survey will be available here from 8 March. 

Read the opening remarks of Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, at the UN Women Executive Board, First Regular Session 2024, where she covers past successes and priorities for the year ahead. 

Speech: Shared vision, effective collaboration, and unswerving determination 

Learn more about gender equality through the first-person accounts of gender-based challenges, the stories of UN Women staff who fight for goal 5 every day, and the experts’ perspective of UN Women’s Editorial Series in the UN Women Editorial series. 

 “Half of humanity can’t wait centuries for their rights. We need equality now. That means accelerating the pace of progress. And that relies on political ambition, and on investment – the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.” – António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, March 2024


  • At the current rate, it will take an estimated 300 years to end child marriage, 286 years to close gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws and 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace. 
  • Nearly 2.4 billion women globally don’t have the same economic rights as men. 
  • 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent women’s full economic participation.


11-22 March | Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68, New York) 

The Commission on the Status of Women will convene this month for its annual two-week session. The priority theme for CSW68 is Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective. Participants will also review social protection systems, sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women, and access to public services. With only 15% of Goal 5 indicators “on track” for 2030, Member State representatives, UN entities and ECOSOC-accredited NGOs will discuss progress and implementation gaps.  

Follow the CSW68 page for updates on the agenda, side events and outcomes. 

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