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March 8 - International Women's Day: Empowering Women is Empowering Humanity

beijing20'Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity - Picture it!' is the UN slogan for this year's March 8 - the International Women's Day. It tells us that it is possible to have a world in which each woman and girl can choose to engage in politics, get an education, earn an income and live in a society without violence or discrimination. On this occasion, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that, in order to truly transform the world, gender equality and women's empowerment must be a development priority beyond 2015. The world will never achieve a 100 percent of its goals unless half of the population cannot realize its full potential.

Therefore, it is important to stress on this occasion that, in spite of a significant improvement, the economic inequality of women is still the root of all other women's rights violations based on their gender, marital and family status or maternity.

The economic position of a vast number of women is bad, while the long-lasting economic crisis has additionally increased their economic inequality. Women's unemployment is bigger than that of men. Women have less control over assets and social resources; they are more frequent than men in informal employment with lower income rates, while spending more time doing unpaid work. Pregnant women and new mothers are particularly discriminated because their employment chances are smaller and they get easily fired. Employers often to not fulfill their obligations to pay for their employee's welfare, healthcare and pension related mandatory taxes. Employed women are often subject to derogation and even threats and blackmail at workplace. Too many girls and women are a target of domestic and other forms of violence burdening not only them as individuals, but the society in general. The Provincial protector of Citizens - Ombudsman (PPCO) institution has been pointing to these phenomena for years back now, asking from the authorities in charge to undertake mandatory measures for women's protection and to observe the regulations in force, esp. the Gender Equality Law.

The International Women's Day is yet another occasion to reflect on the progress made and call for a change implying also the way we perceive the role of women and men in the society and families, particularly in men's eyes. Without a change of perception there will be no observation of women's human rights and no increase in the opportunities for women in politics, business and all other spheres. As the UN Secretary General says, investing in gender equality provides for economic development, social and political inclusion and other benefits that will instigate stability and respect of and for human dignity.