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International Women’s Day

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

International Women’s Day
8 March 2023

On this International Women’s Day (IWD), IDLO celebrates women and girls in all their diversity, and recognizes their fundamental role in the creation of a peaceful, just and inclusive world.

While significant progress has been achieved, the gap between the promise of justice and the lived reality of most women and girls, continues to widen globally. Progress towards gender equality is under threat on many fronts – from the rollback in legal protection, to growing hostility towards women’s human rights, to shrinking spaces for women’s organizations and leadership.

Nearly 2.4 billion women of working age still do not have the same legal rights as men.

In many countries, despite legal guarantees, women’s wages represent only between seventy to ninety per cent of men’s. Women all over the world continue to shoulder the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work.

Over the years, we have seen an increase in legislation against gender-based violence. Nevertheless, for over a decade now, the global average of 1 in 3 women being subjected to physical or sexual violence remains unchanged.

The climate crisis, health emergencies and humanitarian disasters, have exacerbated gender inequalities and brought new and heightened challenges.

As the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law to advance peace and sustainable development, IDLO views these developments with grave concern. On this International Women’s Day, we reiterate our strong commitment to continue addressing the widening justice gap for women and girls through the prism of rule of law by:

  • Advancing the elimination of discriminatory laws and practices and building gender-responsive legal, regulatory and policy frameworks;
  • Supporting comprehensive survivor-centred justice responses to gender-based violence against women and girls in all its forms;
  • Promoting women’s participation and leadership, including in the justice sector;
  • Strengthening women’s economic rights; and
  • Advancing feminist action for climate justice.

IDLO recognizes that the gender digital divide has increasingly become a significant obstacle to accessing justice and other services for many women and girls. Over the past years, this divide has deepened and new forms of gender-based discrimination have emerged.

While this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” puts the spotlight on the benefits of technology for women and girls, it also calls for increased attention to the challenges that technology presents for women’s human rights – from lack of coherent legal norms and standards to serious underreporting of technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

IDLO supports the emergence of the rule of law-based frameworks to ensure that the use of technologies is fair and equitable and that the rights of women and girls in digital spaces are protected. We advocate for a people-centered and feminist approach to the development and use of technology.

This International Women’s Day, IDLO reaffirms its commitment to closing the justice gap for women and girls around the world. We invite our partners to amplify the voices of women and girls in all their diversity and to champion their human rights everywhere.