We celebrate with you International Women’s Day – a day established by the United Nations to promote the active participation and equality of women, to end violence against women and children, and to acknowledge the contribution women make to peace in the home, community and internationally.
This is a day for women and men to stand together to oppose the dis-empowerment of women and the unacceptable continuation of sexual, physical, emotional, economic or institutional violence against women and children.
Everyone benefits from the empowerment of women. When women gain equal access to education, work, health-care and decision-making – their communities become more cohesive, conflicts are more readily resolved and economic and social progress become more manifest.
The United Nations has recognized that the participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, reconciliation, disarmament and governance – including in leadership positions – is vital for peace processes to succeed and be sustained.
International Women’s Day highlights the connections between human rights – especially those of women and children – and other core issues for humanity, including peace, disarmament and sustainable development. The United Nations is starting to reflect this through increasing collaboration between different programs – led by women leaders such as Helen Clark head of the UN Development Program, Angela Kane head of the UN Disarmament Program, Michelle Bachelet head of UN Women, Leila Zerrougui Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and Navi Pillay UN Human Rights Chief.
We honour and thank all of you – women working for peace in Aotearoa-New Zealand and around the world, and men who support and assist the empowerment of women, the reduction of violence and the promotion of peace.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Northern Ireland)
Nobel Peace Laureate 1976
Co-founder, The Peace People
Member, Nobel Women’s Initiative
Alyn Ware (Aotearoa-New Zealand)
Right Livelihood Laureate 2009
Member, World Future Council
Co-founder, Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons