This week, UN Women National Committee Australia is hosting the largest event series around the country to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.

The events are being held in six capital cities around Australia and bring together more than 8000 people to celebrate the achievements of women and reflect on the progress made.

Janelle Weissman, Executive Director of UN Women National Committe (NC) Australia, said it is also a time to highlight the work that still needs to be done.

“Still today, women are locked out of decision making tables all around the world: less than a quarter of parliamentarians are women. Poverty is rife: women and girls make up more than 80 per cent of people living on under $2 a day in Asia and the Pacific,” Ms Weissman said.

” When disaster and crisis strike, women and girls are often left behind in planning and response efforts, leading to poor outcomes for everyone.”

The International Women’s Day events for 2018 with the theme ‘Leave No Woman Behind’, began in Brisbane on Tuesday 6 March.

The breakfast event, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, focused on the the impacts disaster and crisis have on women and girls and acknowledged the vital role women play in planning and response efforts.

Funds raised at the events will support programs working to ensure women are included in crisis and disaster planning and response efforts and to secure seats at the table during peace-making processes. Funds will also support those programs ensuring that the specific needs of women and girls are not forgotten, so that they are protected from gender-based violence in the midst of crisis and the wake of disaster.

“All too often, it is the women who are left behind in times of conflict, disaster or other crises. Disasters kill more women than men, and hit women’s livelihoods hardest. Trafficking, child marriage, and all other forms of violence against women and girls increase,” said Ms Weissman.

Ms Weissman said women have important resources and talents to contribute to planning for and responding to disasters and conflict.

Women play a vital role as leaders, given their wealth of knowledge and connections to family and community and are well placed to help protect and empower other women and girls so that they can survive and thrive. She believes that when women have a seat at decision making tables, the entire community benefits.

UN Women works around the world to ensure that women are not merely vulnerable victims, but are agents of change. The organisation is dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on improving their rights worldwide.

Everyone can show their support for gender equality and women’s empowerment by purchasing and wearing a purple ribbon this International Women’s Day. Purple ribbons are available to buy now at Esprit stores throughout the country.

View the full program of events run by UN Women National Committee Australia, here.

See a video from UN Women National Committee on our F-TV channel, here.