International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The UN drew global attention to women’s concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women’s Year. It also convened the First World Conference on women in Mexico City that year. The UN General Assembly then invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights.

The International Woman Day is a time to reflect on progress made in women’s rights, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights.

The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day, 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.

The theme has been developed in cognizance that the global understanding of work is changing with significant implications on the day to day lives of women. While in most parts of the world, women have made tremendous progress in building competencies to access decent work, there exists huge inequalities, informality of labour, violence and environmental impacts in other societies.

Whilst Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) guided development work for more than a decade since they were adopted in 2000, it is factual that there was sluggish progress in economic empowerment of women, especially in most developing countries.

It, therefore, remains apparent that reducing gender inequalities and the recognition of the needs, roles and potential of women and girls are key factors in achieving development outcomes for all – women, men, boys, girls and their communities and societies around the world. This can be achieved by unlocking the full potential of women in the world of work through targeted measures such as bridging the gender pay gap, recognizing women’s unpaid care and domestic work; addressing the gender gaps in leadership, entrepreneurship and access to social protection; as well as ensuring gender-responsive economic policies for job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth.

“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.” —Ban ki Moon, Former UN Secretary General

In 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, placing gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Governments are therefore called upon to develop and implement policies that target the overwhelming majority of women in the informal economy, promote women’s access to innovative technologies and practices, decent work and protect women from violence in the workplace.

The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community is clear on the gender mandate of the regional integration processes. Under the Provisions of Article 121 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, Partner States undertake to enhance the Role of Women in Socio-Economic Development.

Furthermore, Article 122 provides for enhancement of the Role of Women in Business where Partner States recognise the importance of women as a vital economic link between agriculture, industry and trade.

The EAC Partner States recognise that women make a significant contribution towards the process of economic transformation and sustainable growth and that it is impossible to implement effective programs for the economic and social development of the Partner States without the full participation of women. To this end, the EAC has put the inclusion of women and girls at the centre of the development programmes with Partner States ensuring affirmative action, constitutional and legal reforms, development of national gender policies; institutional mechanisms for implementation and accountability; economic empowerment measures; and sector-specific policies.  The EAC Secretariat also organises regular Women in Social Economic Empowerment and Business conferences which aim at bringing together Women in business to network and explore the opportunities offered by the EAC Single Customs Territory and the Common Market. Such conferences provide a platform for the exchange ideas on ways and means of increasing affordable financing for women-owned businesses in order to promote the entrepreneurship spirit as a major springboard to their economic empowerment.

The EAC together with the East African Business Council (EABC) also coordinates a platform of women in business in all the 6 Partner States known as the East African Women in Business Platform. A regional strategy for promoting women in socio-economic development and women in business has also been developed, and implementation is being discussed with all regional stakeholders.

However, more needs to be done in the achievement of gender equality as progress is hampered by deficient political will in some countries; inadequate resources and technical skills; conflict between statutory and customary laws; and captivity to patriarchal attitudes, beliefs and practices.  A study by the African Inequalities Group also found that the EAC Vision 2050 is ‘top heavy on classical economic development, is not diagnostic of gender variables and is hardly useful for gender planning.’[1]

The EAC Secretariat is therefore committed to ‘Be Bold for Change’ to ensure an East African Community where women can participate as equal partners, decision makers, and beneficiaries of the sustainable development of their societies.


Walk and clean the market

a)    Together with the Arusha City Council, Women Organizations, Staff of the EAC Secretariat and other guests, the Secretary General will lead all women and men in a ‘walk for gender equality’.

b)    Presentations:

  • By Women Leaders in the EAC – Topic: Be Bold for Change
  • On Opportunities for Women in Business in the EAC
  • Presentations from the IIDEA projects that focus on women
  • Moderated interactive session.

c)     Launch of the Simplified Guide for Micro and Small Scale Women Cross Border Traders and Service Providers within the East African Community (EAC)


The UN theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.


#BeBoldForChange is the 2017 Slogan as suggested by the internationalwomensday.com, a global hub and recognised by the UN.  The theme aims at encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women in all aspects of life.


Any web uploads of tailored information on women in the EAC.


Add the latest News on Women’s day on the EAC Women’s Website and the general website and later updates on any other information concerning women in the EAC.


Develop a database of women organisations in the region.

Join us on:

– Retweet and share content

With Hashtags such as #EACBeBoldForChange #EACwomensday2017  #IWD2017
– Display the International Women’s Day on your website or blog

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Youtube



[1] See full Study Report from http://africainequalities.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Okumba-Miruka-Presentation-on-Gender-Audit-of-the-East-African-Community.pdf accessed on February 7, 2017


Time ( Hrs)



07:30 – 08:30 Gather at EAC   Headquarters EAC Secretariat
8:30 – 10:30 Walk and Cleaning,   Address on the Theme at the Market place EAC Secretariat and   Arusha City Council
10:30 – 11:00 Arrival at EAC   Headquarters – Refreshments EAC Secretariat
11:00 – 12:30 Speeches   & Presentations

  1. Welcome Remarks by the Deputy Secretary   General (Finance & Administration)


2. Statement by the Deputy Programme   Manager GIZ


3. Key note Presentation on ‘Women in the changing world of work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’


4. Presentation from Students


5. Motivational   Presentation on the Slogan “Be Bold for Change”


6. Presentations on opportunities for Women in   the EAC-Case Studies of IIDEA women projects

Moderated   Interactive Session

Hon.   Jesca Eriyo


Kirsten   Focken


Mary   Kawar   Director,

International Labour   Organisation (ILO) East Africa Office


ISM, Braeburn Schools

Ms. Marren Akatsa Bukachi,   Executive Director, EASSI


CDEA, EASSI, PWC, Vision   4 Youth & COCAFEM GL



12:30 – 12:40 Entertainment: Live   Performance Dance Team Africa 
12:40 – 13:00 Launch of the   Simplified Guide for Micro and Small Scale Women Cross Border Traders and   Service Providers within the East African Community (EAC) DSG F&A, ILO   Director, DSS, EABC/EAWiBP and Women Representatives
13:00 – 13:30 Closing Remarks DSS
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch and Networking All

End of activities at EAC