8 March 2017: International Women’s Day – Do Not Need a Mustache Campaign

Mar 16, 2017

As a direct result of over 39 years of conflict, 60% of the population in South Sudan are women. Over 84% of women in South Sudan are illiterate, and 50% of girls under the age of 18 are married. The high rate of maternal mortality in the country is amongst the highest in the world.

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) remains at crisis levels in the country, as women become targets during conflict. The National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security is designed to address this and must be implemented. Under UNSCR 1325, the Security Council reinforces the fact that in the case of armed conflicts women should not just be looked at as helpless victims of war and violence, but they should be fully recognized as having active and critical roles as peacebuilders, politicians, community leaders and activists, and should be actively involved in all peace resolution and reconstruction processes.

The overarching goal of UNDP's Integrated Crisis Response Programme is to support recovery and stabilization and lay down a strong foundation for national reconciliation and sustainable development. Participation and empowerment of women and girls is at the center of this work. In response to the July 2016 crisis, UNDP increased its programmatic focus on SGBV, and is looking to strengthen the entire referral pathway from communities to courts.

Women are key to livelihood restoration and the development of micro-enterprises. UNDP is supporting the construction of market and community infrastructures to enhance intra- and inter-community exchanges and broaden the food market beyond subsistence work. The recovery process has opened the doors for young women to step into the world of innovation, entrepreneurship, and with it better understanding of corporate social responsibilities—all in line with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The global theme for International Women’s Day 2017, celebrated on 8 March, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” The world of work is changing, with significant implications for women. On one hand, technological advances and globalization bring unprecedented opportunities for those who can access them. On the other hand, there is growing informality of labour, income inequality and humanitarian crises.  

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. The International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important catalyst for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity. This year, the global IWD campaign urged us to help forge a better working world, a more gender inclusive world. The claim was that each one of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over. The United Nations observance on 8 March called upon all actors to #BeBoldForChange.

In South Sudan, we want to build a different world of work for women. As they grow up, we want South Sudanese girls to be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encourage them to make choices that lead beyond traditional roles to opportunities in a variety of industries where women can explore their unique gifts and abilities including: art, public service, modern agriculture and science.

On 8 March 2017, UNDP South Sudan stepped up for all women in South Sudan to showcase its female staff as examples of empowered women workers who do not need to be men to achieve their professional goals. We asked women in our office to give an example of what they do as a leader at work, and their male colleagues to give an example of a female colleague who is empowered and bold in their work. Female staff in UNDP #donotneedamustache, South Sudanese women neither. This is the result of our campaign. Have a look!

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