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GCWA: Statement on International Women's Day

07 Mar, 2014
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By: GCWA
2014 marks nearly four decades since the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day, and over a century since its first commemoration by women all over the globe. Bringing together governments, civil society, development partners and United Nations entities, this day provides an opportunity to bring attention to challenges faced by women in society and call for the advancement of women’s empowerment, equality and human rights.

Although much progress has been achieved in more than 30 years of the HIV epidemic and global response, still, every minute a young woman acquires HIV, and AIDS-related health complications remain the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age.  Moreover, nearly one in three girls experiences sexual violence, while the sexual and reproductive rights of women. In particular those living with HIV and from key populations continue to be violated, including through forced and coerced sterilization.

Gender inequality is not only increasing the risk of HIV acquisition but is also a consequence of HIV, hampering social justice for women and girls in all their diversity. With the current theme of “equality for women is progress for all”, we are reminded that poverty eradication remains undermined by unequal access to education for women, making up nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults.  Moreover, in many low- and middle-income countries, girls and young women do not have identity papers that recognize their legal entitlements, and remain subject to violence, abuse and discrimination. 

If we want to achieve sustainable development for all through the Post 2015 development agenda, reduction of inequalities for women in all their diversity is key.

On this International Women’s Day, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS calls on its members, partners, the United Nations bodies and government authorities, to maintain and expand the achievements made through the HIV, SRHR and gender equality responses. Also, the GCWA highlights the need to focus particularly in ensuring access to rights-based services for women in all their diversity, by addressing inequity, social exclusion and rights violations in the post 2015 development agenda.

To learn more about the GCWA's commitment to eliminate gender-based violence and achieve gender equality, as well as to get involved, please visit www.womenandaids.net or contact us at womenandaids@unaids.org