International Women's Day has been marked around the world since 1909 through various national movements, but gained recognition in 1975, when the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March.
In his 2014 message saluting International Women's Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that "Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all."
With this in mind, I am honored to say that the BDT has made great progress in this regard. Gender equality is central to achieving our vision for social and economic development. BDT campaigns, such as Girls in ICT Day', launched in 2010, and the Women's Digital Literacy Campaign, launched in 2011, is key to achieving equal opportunities for women.
The gender make up of our current permanent (fixed term & continuing) staff is 74 female to 67 male. Long are the days where our women only served in supportive roles. We have moved in a positive direction to that of managerial and strategic roles that are key to the development of our bureau. We have made great strides, and will certainly continue on this path.
Globally, in the past years, there has been a great deal of progress towards gender equality. While, indeed, we have every reason to celebrate the Day, we should also pause for sober reflection on the challenges that women still face today.
I therefore urge you to continue to inspire your children and envision a world in which every woman and girl is empowered and able to fulfill her dreams in which she can fully enjoy her rights. I urge each and every one of us – male and female - to envision this world and to reflect upon how we can actualize this vision.
So on this special day, I request all my colleagues male staff to join me in saying "Happy International Women's Day" to all our female colleagues in the BDT, to our spouses and daughters.