8 March 2012

ILO celebrates International Women's Day

The theme for International Women’s Day 2012 – Empower Rural Women, end poverty and hunger – highlights the need to tackle gender inequalities in the rural sector.

Some 70 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural communities. Within these communities, the poorest of the poor are often women, who are often perceived and treated as second-class citizens. Despite the low level of recognition given to their work, their socio-economic contribution to the welfare of their households and communities is immense.

Marking International Women’s Day 2012, the ILO calls to unleash the full potential of rural women to help build a fair and equitable global economy. A high-level panel debate will take place on 8 March from 12:30 to 14:30 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva.

Prior to ILO Director-General Mr Juan Somavia's opening remarks, Ms Jane Hodges, Director, Bureau for Gender Equality, will introduce distinguished panelists:

- Ms Sue Longley, Coordinator for Agriculture, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF);
- Ms Zodwa F. Mabuza, Chief Executive Officer of Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce; and
- Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Barbados

After the panelists debate, a question-and-answer session will take place.