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Gender, science and technology, Report of the expert group meeting organized by United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), part of UN Women
in cooperation with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, France, 28 September – 1 October 2010


8 March- International Women's Day

ITU launches the "International Women's Day-09" web-site



International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage.

The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies. Following is a brief chronology of the most important events:


In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate it on the last Sunday of that month through 1913.


The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women's Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women's rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.


As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year, International Women's Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

Less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This event had a significant impact on labour legislation in the United States, and the working conditions leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent observances of International Women's Day.


As part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their sisters.


With 2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again chose the last Sunday in February to strike for "bread and peace". Political leaders opposed the timing of the strike, but the women went on anyway. The rest is history: Four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia, but on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere.

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 for coordinated efforts to demand women's rights and participation in the political and economic process. 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 women's rights.

The Role of the United Nations

Few causes promoted by the United Nations have generated more intense and widespread support than the campaign to promote and protect the equal rights of women. The Charter of the United Nations, signed in San Francisco in 1945, was the first international agreement to proclaim gender equality as a fundamental human right. Since then, the Organization has helped create a historic legacy of internationally agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.

Over the years, United Nations action for the advancement of women has taken four clear directions: promotion of legal measures; mobilization of public opinion and international action; training and research, including the compilation of gender desegregated statistics; and direct assistance to disadvantaged groups. Today a central organizing principle of the work of the United Nations is that no enduring solution to society's most threatening social, economic and political problems can be found without the full participation, and the full empowerment, of the world's women.




APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 7-11 July 2007, Seoul, Korea

More information available at:


Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 16-21 July 2007, Seoul, Korea

The WeBiz Training co-organized by ITU, the Women's e-Biz Training, the Asia Pacific Women's Information Network Center (APWINC) and UN APCICT was held from 16 to 21 July 2007 in Seoul Korea. ITU also organized breakout sessions on Empowering Home workers through ICTs, which produced, among others, country reports and recommendations. Approximately 40 delegates (women entrepreneurs, policy makers and regulators) from Asia Pacific countries participated in this training whose objective was to support the build up of a women e-Business network among women entrepreneurs and government policy makers. More information on this can be found at

International Women's Day 2007

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2007, the Gender Coordination Unit of the ILO International Training Centre is organising a photo exhibition:

Broken bodies broken dreams: violence against women exposed through the courtesy of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Integrated Regional Information Networks (OCHA/IRIN).

The photo exhibition is part of OCHA/IRIN’s ongoing campaign to highlight the issues of violence against women through film, text and photography. It has already been displayed in three international locations: New York, Geneva and Nairobi.

The exhibition will be held at the campus of the International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin (Italy) in Pavillion U-Thant from 7th to 18th March 2007. The display area will include two short loop films:

  • Razor's Edge - the controversy of female genital mutilation

  • Our bodies... Their battleground - Gender-based violence during conflict.

The 20 photos and relative caption boards which compose the exhibition offer a powerful testimony of the different types of gender-based violence experienced by women and girls worldwide. Violence against women is a pandemic, one that transcends the bounds of geography, race, culture, class and religion. It touches virtually every community, in virtually every corner of the globe. Too often sanctified by custom and reinforced by institutions, it thrives on widespread impunity for perpetrators in what remains a patriarchal world that is reluctant to grant women equal rights and protection from gender-based violence.

The Gender Coordination Unit is grateful to OCHA/IRIN for providing this opportunity. Special thanks to Karin Heisecke, Antonia Estrada, Christopher Horwood for their availability.

For more information on broken bodies - broken dreams, please contact:



Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 3-8 July 2006, Seoul, Korea

The APEC Women’s e-Biz Training 2006 was successfully held on 3-8 July 2006 in Seoul, Republic of Korea with more than 60 delegates (entrepreneurs, ICT service providers, academe, and policy makers) from 20 countries participating. ITU provided full fellowships to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Samoa and Vietnam.

This workshop is a joint collaboration among ITU, UNESCAP, ADBI and APWINC. The design of the workshop is a result of consultations among these four co-organizers, facilitated by APWINC. As such, the training workshop considered the entrepreneurial, gender, socio-economic and ICT (access, security, e-applications, etc) aspects of e-Business.

The workshop produced a set of recommendations described in the attached document.



Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 24-30 July 2005, Seoul, Korea

BDT’s Asia Pacific Regional Office and the Special Initiative on Gender Issues collaborated to support the APEC Women's e-Biz Training which was held on 24-30 July 2005 in Seoul, Korea. ITU supported the participation of representatives from the Department of Information & Media, Ministry of Information & Communications in Bhutan, the Directorate General of Posts and Telecommunications, Department of Communication and Information, Directorate of Bilateral Affairs, Directorate of International Affairs in Indonesia, the Ministry of Communications, Transport Posts and Construction, Department of Posts and Telecommunications in Laos, the Information and Communications Technology Authority in Mongolia, and the Ministry of Information and Communication in Nepal. In addition, the Senior Gender Adviser presented a paper on “ICTs, Entrepreneurship and Women’s Well-being”.

The training, which was attended by 40 women from APEC member countries, was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Energy and Industry, APEC and organized by the Asian Pacific Women’s Information Network Center. The goal of the Initiative APEC Women’s Participation in the Digital Economy, of which this training is an element, is to promote Internet-based commercial opportunities for women entrepreneurs in APEC region.


WSIS Thematic Meeting, Forum on ICTs & Gender, 24-25 June 2005, Seoul (Korea)

Following the Forum on ICT and Gender: Optimizing Opportunities held August 2003 in Malaysia as well as the outcome of Women’s World 2005, to be held 19-24 June in Korea, this WSIS preparatory meeting, Forum on ICT and Gender, will discuss ICTs & Gender focusing on e-Governance and the Digital Solidarity Fund. Various stakeholders from international organizations, nongovernmental organization and academia will address these issues from a gender perspective.

For the details of the Forum, please refer to


The Working Group on Gender Issues (WGGI)

WGGI comprised of representatives from Member States, the private sector, the United Nations, international and regional organizations, NGOs, academia and staff from ITU-D. This Group has assumed several tasks, one of which is to sensitize the ICT community about the need for, and importance of, gender sensitive programmes and policies. The primary work of the group is assumed by the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee of the WGGI is composed of the Chair, five Vice Chairs and several members. The Steering Committee works closely with the ITU’s Senior Gender Advisor who acts as Secretary to the Group. The Committee meets once a year to review activities and provide input on issues related to the mandate of the WGGI. Six Programme Committees are also organized under specific thematic issues.

  • First WGGI meeting (2002)  Report

  • Second WGGI meeting (2003)  Report

  • Third WGGI meeting (2004)  Report


The Task Force on Gender Issues

  • First TFGI meeting (1998)  Report

  • Second TFGI meeting (1999)  Report

  • Third TFGI meeting (2000)  Report

  • Forth TFGI meeting (2001)  Report


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