The first International Women’s Day was observed in 1911, three years after 15,000 women marched through New York City calling for voting rights and other demands.
On International Women’s Day (March 8) and every day, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) celebrates and supports gender equality for a more democratic, peaceful and prosperous world.
For more than three decades, the IFES has supported equal rights, participation and justice for everyone in political and civic life. We work to ensure our programming benefits a diversity of women, keeping in mind that race, gender identity, ethnicity, age, disability status, sexual orientation and other factors can contribute to additional marginalization. We support current and future women leaders, encourage and assist male champions of women’s rights and address barriers to women’s political participation. IFES is proud to support our partners around the world who are working tirelessly to shift attitudes and practices that perpetuate inequality and discrimination against women in public and private life.
In commemoration of International Women's Day, we invite you to learn more about how IFES and our partners support people worldwide to:
Support the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
- IFES proudly signed onto the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA Compact), an outcome of the UN Generation Equality Forum which seeks to build on over 20 years of progress in WPS as an inclusive movement for action on gender equality. IFES committed to nine actions under the compact and will be working alongside WPS-HA signatories to implement these actions in our programs globally.
- To address gaps in conflict and violence monitoring and early warning systems, IFES developed Global Framework for Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Early Warning of Violence and Conflict with support from the U.S. Department of State Office of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO). The framework aims to address gaps and build on existing efforts to mainstream gender in conflict early warning systems.
Address Gender-based Violence in Digital Spaces
- Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender-based violence, particularly in online spaces, IFES completed an assessment of Online Violence Against Politically and Civically Engaged Women in Bangladesh.
- Through the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), IFES collaborated with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) to develop a comprehensive suite of inclusive monitoring and evaluation tools to measure and document online violence against women in politics and inform programming to prevent it, mitigate it and support survivors.
Exercise Their Political Rights and Increase Women’s Access to Justice in Fragile Contexts
- IFES launched a partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to advance Sida’s human rights, democracy and gender equality priorities. Through this initiative, IFES will create a guidebook and pilot initiatives to support women’s access to electoral justice based on lessons learned and best practices from around the world.
- Regina Waugh, IFES' senior global gender advisor, published Lessons on Gender Equality and Women’s Political Participation, the first paper in the new Election Case Law Analysis Series based on data from ElectionJudgments.org.
Provide Robust Gender Analysis to Support Innovative and Inclusive Programming
- Recognizing the key role electoral management bodies (EMBs) play in ensuring inclusion in the electoral process, IFES published a comparative study of different practices implemented by EMBs on the African continent to include traditionally underrepresented voters, such as women and persons with disabilities.
To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, IFES joins the global #BreakTheBias campaign to call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world. Throughout the month of March, @IFES1987 will feature people who support gender quality and women’s equal and meaningful participation in democratic life via Twitter and Facebook.