Statement by the Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2023 

Today, I am pleased to observe International Women’s Day under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” which calls for more joint efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive, and more equitable.

Rapid digitalization affects all spheres of life, bringing opportunities and challenges for protecting and promoting human rights and gender equality. Technology can be a powerful tool to advance women’s economic and political participation. But it is vital to strengthen multi-stakeholder cooperation between global organizations, governments, the private sector, and civil society to harness the vast potential of digital technology to support women’s empowerment worldwide and counter gender-based violence and discrimination through the misuse of new technologies. As emphasized at a recent meeting of the Community of Democracies Working Group on Women and Democracy, technology should not amplify gender inequalities.

Women’s rights are human rights. The human rights of all women must be upheld and protected, regardless of their nationality, country of residence, social, economic, political, or any other status. Equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The upcoming 75th anniversary of the Declaration, intending to rejuvenate the spirit of this milestone document, is the time to review progress and challenges in achieving gender quality and renew the government’s commitment to ensuring full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all women and girls.

The Community of Democracies continues to support women’s empowerment through its work promoting inclusive, representative, and participatory democratic processes and institutions. Full and meaningful engagement of women in all spheres of public life is essential to achieve more progress in addressing complex global challenges and building peaceful and inclusive societies. There is no progress without gender equality.