International Women’s Day: NPWJ stands with women and girls and calls for enhanced commitment to gender equality and to the promotion and protection of women’s human rights

8 Mar, 2022 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 8 March 2022

On 8 March 2022, NPWJ joins the celebrations of International Women’s Day, paying tribute to women’s lives and achievements through history. At the same time, on this occasion we remember and highlight the many obstacles to the realisation of women and girls’ full potential: while significant steps have and are being taken towards gender equality, much is left to do until the full recognition and protection of the rights of women and girls as universal human rights.   

Structural patterns of gender-based social norms and stereotyping are embedded in societies worldwide, resulting in gender-based discrimination, violence and exploitation on many levels: women suffer or risk abuse and harassment on the job, on the streets, within the family, within institutions, as both a result and a perpetuation of gender inequality and discrimination that denies them the most basic forms of personal autonomy and self-determination.  Gendered expectations and ingrained cultural bias lead to limiting or denying the rights of women and girls to education, health, political and social empowerment, and economic participation and prosperity. 

Daily, millions of girls and women are exposed to serious violations of their autonomy and rights solely based on their gender, such as harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. 

The fight towards full gender equality enshrined in legislation as an essential component of the rule of law is broad: for the right to self-empowerment, the freedom to make informed and autonomous choices about the course of one’s life, one’s sexuality, if and when to have children, whether , when and who to marry, and all within a context of public policies and structures that allow for real choice. Moreover, and this is true more than ever, unless gender equality is pursued without compromise, unless the legal framework that guarantees full equality between men and women is constantly strengthened, all advances will continue to be attacked, undermined, weakened or revoked.

As NPWJ, we also take this opportunity to express our concern about violence against women in conflict and in humanitarian settings; the human rights crisis in Afghanistan, escalated over recent months, and the illegal invasion of and current crimes being committed in Ukraine have once more shown how violent patriarchal patterns are too often one of the ways conflict harms civilian population. In these and in all conflicts worldwide, NPWJ condemns human rights violations generated by the dynamics of war, which disproportionately affects women and girls. 

On this day and every day, we reaffirm our commitment and continuous support to the human rights of girls and women. NPWJ calls on all governments worldwide to uphold their pledge and take positive action to respect, protect, and promote their human rights as well as gender equality at large. 

Especially in such difficult times, when defending human rights and standing up for the rule of law is most necessary, the political commitment which is already enshrined in the many legal instrument at national and international level must turn into action. Concrete, effective and coordinated policies must be implemented to address the unique and most pressing challenges women and girls face around the world and to ensure the fulfilment of their human rights.

For further information, please contact Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator, email: