Catch up on our coverage from the past week as the United Nations’ 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women comes to a close.

Female construction workers in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian women have been making headway in traditionally male-dominated fields. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

The film follows Dr. Jawad and two of his patients, 39-year-old Zakia and 23-year-old Rukhsana, both disfigured by their husbands. Courtesy of "Saving Face"

International Women’s Day:

  • On International Women’s Day, the United Nations called for a major international conference in 2015 focusing solely on women. The last one, the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, adopted a Platform of Action which is still in the process of being implemented: U.N. Aims at Major Global Conference on Women in 2015
  • This year’s IWD theme focused on rural women. In light of recent natural disasters and calamities in the Philippines, women farmers are increasingly citing climate change as one of their most pressing concerns: Women Weather Climate Change
  • Chile’s “More Women in Power” campaign, organised on the occasion of IWD, is seeking to increase the number of women in public decision-making positions, to move towards “parity democracy”: Campaign Fights “Disgraceful” Under-representation of Women in Power
  • On the eve of International Women’s Day, Brazil’s congressional human rights commission approved a bill that requires equal pay for equal work between men and women. If the law passes, companies that fail to comply will be fined: Brazilian Women Are the World’s Happiest
  • The Oscar-nominated documentary “Saving Face” – with its focus on a particularly vicious form of gender violence, acid attacks, and its stress on the strength and struggle of survivors fighting back – premiers on the U.S. television channel HBO on IWD: Acid Survivors Fight Back: A Story of Hope Amidst Despair

The organisers of More Women in Power at the launch of the campaign. Credit:Más Mujeres al Poder


  • “To be able to realise their full potential in society as women, girls need to be empowered to raise their voices against injustices committed against them and they need a system that will support their quest for justice,” Equality Now writes in Keeping Girls Safe at Home, at School and in Their Communities
  • “For developing countries, female migrants are becoming the main export as the labour market demand for a new form of modern-day slavery – domestic servitude – increases in the Middle East,” Simba Russeau writes in How the Kafala System is Failing Domestic Workers in the Middle East
  • “I am often caught between what my traditional community expects of me as a woman, and what I want to achieve in a society with a plethora of opportunities,” Melina Lito writes in Women’s Empowerment in Traditional Communities
  • “This is the first global initiative that adopts an innovative approach – data collection, organisation and visualisation – concerning [gender and media],” Mapping Global Media Policy writes in Visualising Gender and Media

A female farmer in Northern Philippines struggles to gather sufficient yields as a result of climate change. Credit: Kara Santos/IPS

Gender-Responsive Budgeting

Women’s Empowerment

  • Devastating as the Tohoku earthquake was, it gave the local women of the remote region an opportunity to come into their own and take on leadership roles in an essentially patriarchal country: Japanese Women Empowered By Tohoku Quake
  • What does riding a bike have to do with women’s rights? According to the Chilean feminist group Macleta, which promotes cycling and a gender perspective on public transport, a bicycle is a powerful tool for social change:
    Arab Women Bring Spring to the Screen
  • “Arab women are stronger and more powerful than we think, and they do take part in their societies. So we wanted to bring these women to Berlin, let them show their films and we asked the audience to do nothing but hear them out“: Promoting Women’s Empowerment on Two Wheels
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