6 February 2010
While more girls are starting school, many of them, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab countries, do not complete their primary education. In countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan, two-thirds of illiterates are women. Women in many countries cannot do paid work outside the agriculture sector. In South Asia and North Africa, for instance, only 18% of women have paid work and they are generally paid lower wages. Of the nearly one billion people with an income of less than one dollar a day, some 700 million are women.
Laws that discriminate explicitly against women remain in force around the world, putting the formal endorsement of the state on gender-based discrimination.
International Women's Day is celebrated each year on 8th March to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.
The theme for the 2010 celebration of International Women’s Day is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All” Despite a disappointing lack of progress the empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.