Yury Fedotov

Director General/Executive Director


Remarks at International Women's Day event

7 March 2019


Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to address you on the occasion of International Women's Day.

My thanks to the Vienna Chapter of the International Gender Champions and the Gender Focal Points and Focal Points for Women of CTBTO, UNIDO and UNOV/UNODC, as well as the Focal Points for Women from UNOV/UNODC, for organizing this event.

The first International Women's Day was celebrated in 1976. Much progress has been made since then in terms of gender equality, although not nearly enough.

Nevertheless, there is widespread recognition that gender inequality and related social ills and imbalances, from discrimination and the gender pay gap to women and girls being subjected to violence, harm us all.

Women's empowerment is essential to guarantee human rights, build peace and security, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

This year's International Women's Day theme, "Think equal, build smart, innovate for change," specifically calls for innovative approaches to help achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030.

This means that we all need to get involved in advancing gender equality, on a daily basis. I would like to commend this event's organizers' focus on ways in which men can champion gender equality.

Every one of us can challenge their own assumptions and overcome their unconscious bias, to play their part in the broader organizational change that is required.

To support UNOV/UNODC's efforts we have adopted the Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for 2018 to 2021.

The Strategy aims to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women are integral parts of all aspects of the work of UNOV/UNODC.

I am pleased that our work through the Strategy has been recognized in the Global Health 50/50 report officially released today.

UNODC is committed to further advancing our efforts to develop and promote gender-responsive approaches across our mandate areas of drugs and health, crime, corruption and terrorism.

This includes addressing gender challenges in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for drug use disorders as well as HIV/AIDS.

It also includes working to strengthen criminal justice responses to eliminate violence against women, promote women's participation and representation in criminal justice agenciesand provide essential services to women and girls victims of violence.

All these efforts contribute to advancing gender equality in terms of access to public services, a key focus of this year's International Women's Day.

And because we can only act upon what we are able to measure and understand, UNODC is also at the forefront of gender-responsive drug- and crime-related research and analysis, through flagship publications such as the World Drug Report, the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, and the Global Study on Homicide.

We must also commit to implementing these principles in our own workplaces.

The Strategy is assisting UNOV and UNODC to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women are promoted by all staff in all aspects of institutional processes, and that we improve the representation of women at all levels to achieve gender parity.

A very positive development in terms of making gender equality a working reality is the constant expansion of the International Gender Champions network.

I am proud to be one of the thirty-four Vienna-based Champions, and I look forward to strengthening our work together.

I wish you a very enriching event here today, and all the best on International Women's Day.

Thank you.