International Women's Day 2016

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

  • Gender parity, or the equal representation of women and men, goes far beyond numbers and tokenism. It is a fundamental matter of rights and a necessary condition for gender equality.
  • While gender parity is only one action necessary for the achievement of gender equality, when properly implemented, it can be a transformative tool. It means visible equality and can help break deep-rooted gender stereotypes and unconscious biases that continue to feed discrimination against women and girls. Rather than be confined to roles deemed “appropriate” or “feminine”, parity allows women and girls to be present in all fields. Parity also helps to provide gender equal role models with which children can identify from an early age.
  • Having equal numbers of women and men represented results in, laws, policies and programmes that build on the talents and skills of the entire population – not just a fraction. It helps place women’s and girls’ experience as the “norm” rather than the exception to be accommodated. Quotas and other temporary efforts to achieve parity can speed up a process that might otherwise take generations.
  • Gender parity is for all of us. As governments make national commitments to close the gender equality gap by 2030 through the new Sustainable Development Goals, we have the power and responsibility to promote gender parity. We must stop regarding parity as a token exercise and understand that equal representation of women and men is a fundamental right, and contributes towards more just societies.


Changing our subconscious maps the way to equality
Sexism is deeply rooted in our unconscious, said Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. “We grow up with these internal maps that lead to a bias that can be said to be unconscious. We have to own our responsibility to confront and dismantle those toxic maps.” read more...


Deputy High Commissioner's speech on the occasion of the International Women's Day on 8 March 2016

High Commissioner’s speech on gender parity at the Human Rights Council on 15 September 2015


In Geneva

In New York

Field presences


Occupied Palestinian Territories