UN Marks International Women’s Day with Calls to Meet the Challenges of Development

8 March 2010: To mark International Women's Day, UN officials stressed the need for greater empowerment of women in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and to face development challenges, including climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the role of women and girls in achieving peace, security and sustainable development. UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella emphasized the need to enhance women's access to skills, technologies and finance to facilitate their engagement in productive activities and to move beyond subsistence survival, with a particular focus on agribusiness and agri-industries opportunities in Africa. Yumkella also highlighted the role of women in Africa, as small farmers and agricultural laborers, in crop production, livestock care and off-farm activities, and the constraints associated with women's lack of rights.

The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Global Compact, which focuses on corporate responsibility, launched a joint initiative called "Women's Empowerment Principles," to offer guidance on how to empower women in the workplace. UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi stressed the multiplier effect of women's empowerment, noting the benefits for communities and business. [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Statement]