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International Women's Day 2008: Statement by Cheryl Gregory Faye, Head of UNGEI Secretariat

©UNICEF/HQ06-1332/Claudio Versiani
BRAZIL: (Left-right) Christiana Conceção, 23, Angélica Ferreira, 18, and Delza de Paula, 21, stand together at the local NGO CEAFRO (Centre of Educational and Professional Support for Racial and Gender Equality) in Salvador.

NEW YORK, USA, 7 March 2008 – This year, International Women's Day is focusing on the theme: “Investing in Women and Girls.” With more than half of the children who are not in school being girls, the importance of financing for gender equality in education should be reinforced.

A critical component of achieving gender equality starts with quality education for girls and women. The cascading effects of educating girls are indisputable.  Girls who receive quality, basic education are more empowered and better prepared to protect themselves against violence, abuse, exploitation and trafficking, and are less vulnerable to disease, including HIV/AIDS.

We also know that educated women are better able to support and make informed decisions for their families. They also are better poised to be key decision-makers in their families and communities.

As we work together with the United Nations system, governments, donor countries, non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, communities and families, we must also remind ourselves that educating all children, including the most vulnerable and marginalized – girls, children affected by HIV/AIDS, the disabled, and children affected by crises – is central to achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty.

Let’s look at this day as an opportunity to reaffirm our actions and investments in getting girls into school.  Education helps girls and women escape the cycle of poverty, allowing them to fully participate as active members of their community.

UNGEI partners are commemorating International Women’s Day in different ways all over the world.  Here are some highlights:

Celebrating International Women's Day - How AED is Improving the Lives of Women Worldwide

Commonwealth Secretariat
The Commonwealth Secretariat will celebrate International Women’s Day with Dr. Naila Kabeer who will speak on Financing Gender Equality on Friday, 7 March.

International Labour Organization
Feature story:
Financing for gender equality and empowerment of women: Report from Ethiopia

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
USAID will host the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Laura Bush, and honoured guests at an International Women's Day celebration on Friday, 7 March.

An international round table, “Gender equality: Make it your business”, will be organized by the UNESCO Bureau of Strategic Planning’s Division for Gender Equality and will be held on 10 March.

Statement made by UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.

Girls’ education will shape progress for Somalia, says UNICEF

Mgata: When you educate a woman, you educate a community (Video)

For more information about International Women’s Day, visit


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