As we join with organisations, partners and supporters to celebrate women on International’s Women’s Day, we highlight below a series of articles that reflect the progress and the barriers to ending violence against women and realising equal rights for women across the world.

Don’t talk the talk about women… Walk the walk

“We cannot sit and pontificate, or wring our hands and hope someone else does the hard work.”

To mark International Women’s Day, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu in their compelling article We need to think differently about women urge all of us – men and women – to question what is preventing gender equality and to make a commitment to empowering women.

“International Women’s Day should cause us to ask some hard questions of those who run our societies, and indeed of ourselves – men and women. How is it that in 2015 girls can be kidnapped and murdered just for going to school? How can millions of girls still be subjected to the tortures of female genital mutilation? How does women’s pay still lag behind men’s in almost every society worldwide? How are women still systematically under-represented in senior positions in major professions from politics and law to journalism and business?”

Women and girls at the centre

To make progress on women’s rights, gender equality and ending violence, we need collaboration not just across sectors but also across issues. Women’s health and reproductive rights, for example, cannot be separated from gender equality, legal empowerment to end violence and political participation in social and government decision-making.

Katja Iversen makes this case in her article Girls and Women must be at the Centre of the Global Development Agenda and insists that in September, when the UN releases the Sustainable Development Goals, girls and women must be at the centre “to ensure that the health, rights and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents are given priority this time around.”

20 years after Beijing: How far to go?

20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action, the UN has this year commissioned a Think Piece series Let’s talk about Women’s Rights comprising articles from leading feminist thinkers from around the world. These articles review the progress we are making on women’s rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women. They are an insightful and informative series and we recommend them for further reading.

The ‘Feminization of Poverty’: A Reflection 20 Years After Beijing by Sylvia Chant, London School of Economics and Political Science
Gender Norms: Are they the Enemy of Women’s Rights? by Raewyn Connell and Rebecca Pearse, University of Sydney
Women, War and Peace in Africa: A Reflection on the Past 20 Years by Meredeth Turshen, Rutgers University
Achievements and Challenges 20 Years after Beijing: An African Perspective by Faiza Jama Mohamed, Equality Now
Why Does the Security Council Have Few Teeth? A Reflection on Women and Armed Conflict 20 years after Beijing 1995 by Donna Pankhurst, Bradford University