International Women's Day 2016

Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, UN Women Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka today organised a ‘Step It Up’ walk for gender equality at Raahgiri at Connaught Place in New Delhi. Photo: UN Women India

Events | Speeches & Messages | Timeline | Join the conversation | About IWD

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The United Nations observance on 8 March will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

Speeches and messages

UN Secretary-General's message for 2016

04 March 2016

“We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for International Women’s Day 2016... more

UN Women Executive Director’s message for IWD 2016

04 March 2016

This year’s celebration of International Women’s Day is the first within the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are confidently asserted in that Agenda as intrinsic to progress. The new Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals include a specific goal to achieve gender equality, which aims to end discrimination and violence against women and girls and ensure equal participation and opportunities in all spheres of... more

We can’t step it up on gender equality without stepping up expenditures

07 March 2016

The theme of International Women’s Day 2016 is, “‘Step it Up for Gender Equality.” Easier said than done. It requires commitment, unity, solidarity, inclusion, change, and often most importantly, adequate financial resources. We simply can’t step it up without closing the gap between how much we are spending and how much we need to spend to achieve the goal. The problem of financing for UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 –... more

Asia-Pacific Member States Commit for Gender Equality

Interactive timeline: Women’s Footprint in History

Click to view the timeline.

Throughout history, women have made extraordinary contributions to their societies. Some are well known, some less so, but all have been trail blazers. Explore a selection of these women and learn what the reality still is today for many women and girls worldwide. View timeline


UN highlights need to close critical gender gaps in Asia-Pacific On International Women’s Day

08 March 2016

For the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to succeed, we must root out the causes of inequality between women and men by addressing unequal gender relations and tackling structural barriers such as discriminatory legislation and macro-economic policies, prejudicial social norms and harmful practices, the United Nations underscored at a forum here today. In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2016, the United Nations Economic and... more

Police Cadets Step Up their Support to Gender Equality

07 March 2016

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the Royal Police Cadet Academy in partnership with the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), the Embassy of Sweden and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women organized the Youth Dialogue on Gender Equality with Police Cadets, in Support of the HeForShe and SpeakUp SpeakOut Campaigns at the Royal Police Cadet Academy, Nakorn Pathom, on Monday 7 March 2016. The dialogue was to promote... more

UN Women, youth ‘Step It Up’ for gender equality at Raahgiri

07 March 2016

Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, UN Women Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka today organised a ‘Step It Up’ walk for gender equality at Raahgiri at Connaught Place in New Delhi. The early morning rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of people – activists, youth, students and visitors who had converged on the traffic-free zone in central Delhi to join the walk. The call for “Planet 50:50... more

National Commemoration of the International Women's Day 2016

07 March 2016

On 4 March 2016 Government of Thailand hosted its National Commemoration of the International Women's Day 2016, under the theme "Women and Sustainable Development Goals”. In the series of event, a panel of discussion looked into addressing the existing gaps in empowering women to achieve gender equality in the country’s educational, cultural, economic, political participation and environmental development targets by 2030. The Ministry of SocialDevelopment and Human Security... more

Asia-Pacific Commemoration of International Women’s Day 2016: Interactive Dialogue on Gender Equality Commitments and SDGs

02 March 2016

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” The UN will observe the day by building momentum for the effective implementation of Gender Equality principles and targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Regional Commemoration of International Women’s Day will be organized by the Asia-Pacific UN RCM Thematic Working Group on Gender... more

Step it up: Cambodia’s International Women’s Day Film Festival

25 February 2016

Celebrated yearly on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day marks a global day to recognize the challenges, solicit change, and to celebrate women’s empowerment and achievements worldwide. This year, following the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, UN Women Cambodia is proud to host a three day Film Festival for International Women’s day. In line with this year’s theme, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender... more


Join the conversation for International Women’s Day, #IWD2016!

  • Main hashtags: #IWD2016; #Planet5050 – check out the automatic emoji on Twitter when tweeting with the hashtag #IWD2016!
  • Main Twitter accounts: @UN_Women (HQ), @UNWomenAsia (Asia-Pacific)
  • Main Facebook accounts: UN Women (HQ), UN Women Asia-Pacific
  • Other accounts: Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest
  • Change your Facebook and Twitter cover image with the banners available in English, Spanish and French (under “General”) here.
  • If you organize or participate in a local International Women’s Day event, share your images and messages on our Facebook Event page and bring your event to a global audience.
  • On 8 March, log into Snapchat to see the Live Story celebrating remarkable women.
  • Follow our accounts for live coverage from the different events and share content from our social media package, which is available with images, videos and sample promotional messages
  • For Asia-Pacific region watch our LIVE broadcast Video Recorded
Asia-Pacific International Women’s Day, #IWD2016! Video: UNESCAP/UN Women

About IWD

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.