International Women’s Day

Pronali giving post-natal care to a woman in her community. Photo: Simon Argho Sku/Caritas Bangladesh.

International Women's Day is a global observance celebrated annually on 8 March. It is a day dedicated to honouring the achievements and contributions of women throughout history, promoting gender equality, and raising awareness about the ongoing struggles women face worldwide. The day serves as a call to action for advancing women's rights and addressing issues such as gender-based discrimination and violence. 

According to the United Nations, women around the world aged between 25 and 34 are 25 percent more likely than men to live in poverty. 

Traditional social structures, stereotypes, and attitudes about women and their roles in society may further contribute to the restriction of women’s rights and freedoms.   

Additional factors such as food insecurity and climate change further exacerbate these issues and make it increasingly challenging for women to overcome these barriers and claim their fundamental human rights.  

Despite these challenges, there has been important progress in gender equality and the empowerment of women, although progress has been uneven and variable, particularly for women and girls living in the world’s most vulnerable communities.   

Pronali's story

Pronali is proud to be working as a midwife. Photo: Simon Argho Sku/Caritas Bangladesh.

Pronali is an indigenous woman living in rural Bangladesh.  

She was married at a young age and, worked only at home to raise her children. Like many women living in vulnerable communities, Pronali had no income of her own or financial independence.  

With the help of our local partner Caritas Bangladesh, Pronali received the training necessary to become a midwife in her local community. Thanks to your support and generosity, she is now conducting safe deliveries of pregnant women who live in remote areas where there are limited clinics or hospitals.   

With further training and continuous practice, Pronali hopes to build a primary health check-up and first aid centre so that she and her team can provide safe motherhood services and safe delivery.  

Pronali is now recognised as an integral member of her community and as a family health service provider, bringing her closer to achieving her dreams. 

Caritas Australia’s work 

Caritas Australia’s work around women’s rights is directly aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". This underlines the importance of addressing gender-based discrimination and violence, ensuring equal opportunities and eliminating harmful practices.  

As an organisation, we acknowledge the critical role women play in communities and societies, and the importance of empowering women to achieve sustainable development. 

International Women's Day provides an opportunity to assess progress, highlight achievements and raise awareness about the remaining obstacles to gender equality.