“As part of the global development and women’s empowerment agenda, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are rooted in fundamental human rights, and aim to uphold and safeguard the dignity, agency, bodily integrity and autonomy as well as wellbeing of all; ensuring that everyone reaches their highest potential. International Women’s Day and Women’s Month provide a critical platform to not only collectively come together to reflect on gains made towards the attainment and achievement of gender equality and equity, but also gives room to analyse the gaps to inform and strengthen interventions and initiatives focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Additionally, this day also allows us to celebrate the achievements that women have made across various sectors and generations in both the public and private spheres, and for us to draw inspiration from those achievements.” SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu
Globally, 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, with the entire month being set aside as Women’s Month. Both the Day and the Month mark commemoration of economic, political and social achievements made by women across sectors in the past, present and future. Additionally, the Day presents an opportunity to reflect on the existing gaps in gender equality and the recognition of women’s rights as human rights, and for strengthening synergies and regrouping for collective action towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, as part of the global 2030 Agenda.
This year, the Day is being commemorated under the theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change;” placing emphasis on the need for accelerating and amplifying initiatives promoting equality, equity, empowerment and inclusion of women and girls, with a particular focus on social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. Additionally, the theme is closely aligned with the focus of the 63rd Commission of the Status of Women (CSW 63). SAfAIDS joins the United Nations and other like-minded stakeholders ín celebrating the Day. As part of fully celebrating this year’s theme, SAfAIDS is reflecting on and recognising existing gaps in gender equality that continuously fuel high incidence of violence and oppression (in all forms) against women in both peace and conflict times including sexual gender-based violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, unequal pay, limited access to adequate education, health, nutrition and sanitation, unremunerated work, cyber harassment and limited citizen rights. As part of its commitment, the organisation is strengthening initiatives, strategies and platforms promoting gender equality and equity to address the gender divide and gap.
Additionally, SAfAIDS reaffirms its commitment to building and strengthening smart conditions for the attainment and achievement of gender equality and equity for women and girls in the SADC region; through regional and national programmes that are scaling up investments in women and girls’ attainment of increased SRHR outcomes through combining and harnessing the potential of technology, local innovation, women’s leadership, women-led research and documentation and gender norms transformation. SAfAIDS programming focuses on creating, fostering and supporting gender-responsive and transformative innovations, social systems and infrastructure that promote gender equality and equity for sustainable development of communities within the SADC region. This year, SAfAIDS is focusing on innovation aimed at building and strengthening the capacity of rural women in technology, livelihoods, communication and SRHR advocacy.
As we collectively commemorate the Day, let us also celebrate women in all their diversities and the immense contributions that have been made by the women’s movement from local to global level to close the gender gap and divide and create equal opportunities for future generations of women. Additionally, let us take time to reflect on gender inequalities that continue to fuel abuse and oppression of women; make commitments and decisive actions towards addressing all forms of gender inequalities and violence against women, for the global attainment of sustainable gender equality and equity, on this Day and throughout the year.
Join the Women’s Movement; Commit to, Invest in and Amplify Gender-Responsive and Transformative Initiatives for Sustainable Development in the SADC Region through Thinking Equal, Building Smart and Innovating for Change
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