Women have been playing a crucial role in contributing to multilateralism and our common quest to advance peace and security, human rights and development. Indeed, without the commitment of several remarkable women the ground-breaking United Nations Charter signed in 1945 would not have been as inclusive as we know it today.
On 25 January 2022, UNESCO inaugurated the International Day of Women in Multilateralism, based on a resolution adopted in November 2021 at UNESCO’s General Conference, which was spearheaded by Gabon.
On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March), the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Geneva and the Permanent Mission of Gabon therefore created this awareness-raising project to make visible the role of contemporary as well as historical female leaders from all across the world, who have contributed to the advancement of multilateralism and the ideals of the UN, from human rights to development, and to peace and security.
The exhibition features women who work or have worked in a variety of fields: from female politicians, to peace negotiators and grass-root activists, from sustainable development, to human rights and climate change – the idea of this exhibition is not to be exhaustive, but to showcase a small part of inspiring women across all continents that are or were committed to the idea of a better world for all.
About this exhibition
This exhibition is an initiative by the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in Geneva and the Permanent Mission of Gabon. In order to have an inclusive process and in the spirit of multilateral cooperation, all Permanent Missions in Geneva were invited to submit one or several women leaders from their countries (contemporary or historical), who promoted the cause of multilateralism, human rights (including women’s rights), development or peace and security. In addition, young female activists who pursue these ideals at grass-root level have been identified, as well as women who are leading the multilateral process by occupying senior positions in the UN or other International Organizations.
This is a project that has been established in partnership with many Permanent Missions to the UN Office in Geneva, in the spirit of cooperation and a common idea that women from across all continents have contributed in the past, and continue to make an enormous contribution to our common pursuit of peace and security, human rights and development. We thank all of the participating Permanent Missions for their contributions.
The exhibition was projected on the Geneva’s well-known ‘Mur des Réformateurs’ from 8-10 March from 6 pm to midnight. Though the wall was built to display the influence of Calvinism in the world, it is also often seen as a symbol of a patriarchal society. Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva says: “Women have made, and are making every day, a remarkable contribution to multilateralism and the values that the UN stands for: human rights, development, peace and security. They are doing this in many different ways: as politicians, heads of international organisations, as advocates, humanitarians, artists, scientists and grassroots activists. They touch millions of lives and change the course of countries. This impressive contribution deserves to be made visible. The exhibition just showcases a small extract of all these dedicated women across the world, who stand up for their values.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a social media campaign with the campaign slogan #women4multilateralism. It is also projected at the UN building in Vienna on 8 March.
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