Colourful drawing of women from different ethnicity.

Women’s Day: a time to reflect

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as an official UN holiday for women’s rights and world peace. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law has been an active component in working for a future where Human Rights are enjoyed to their fullest.

For Women’s Day, Windi Arini, our Inclusive Societies programme officer, reflects on the achievements in gender equality but also, the challenges that remains. Indeed, there are still many challenges to achieve gender equality, but women and girls are perseverant, so nothing is impossible.

Ms. Windi Arini emphasised that if all women and girls have the chance to decide for her own and participate in discussion on issues that affects them, it will open doors for opportunities and minimise barriers.

Our fellow researcher at RWI, Ms. Farima Nawabi encountered the Taliban regime and brings attention to Human Rights in her understanding of Women’s Day:

Colourful drawing of hands joining in a harmonious circle.

“Every human deserves respect and dignity. As a human being, you are responsible for raising your voice toward someone being harassed or having his rights violated. Women’s day is a tool, an opportunity, a platform we must use for raising awareness and educating. This opportunity should be used by me, other women and also men. We must think about it as a collective thing, as human rights.” Ms. Nawabi says.


For the next 10 months at RWI, Ms Nawabi will be conducting research on “The Taliban takeover and its impact on Human Rights in Afghanistan, especially on Women’s rights”. While human rights are being deprived in Afghanistan, Ms. Nawabi reflects on the importance of men and women working together on common equal values.

“8th of March should be men standing for women and women standing for themselves and men, in the name of Human Rights.” Ms. Nawabi says.

The 2022 UN theme for International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” It aims to highlight the contribution of women and girls around the globe, working to build a more sustainable future. This is done through community participation and the promotion of climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response.

Two colourful hands holding each other in peace.One of the main keys to a sustainable and equal society is access to education for girls. The fifth United Nations Sustainable Development Goals give prominence to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Highlighting women’s and girls’ empowerment through access to contribute to more stable and resilient societies. She referred to a survey on the gender gap in STEM studies in Singapore, explaining reasons for women being discouraged from pursuing STEM studies.  

Implementing Human Rights strengthens opportunities for individuals to fulfil their potential and thrive. Through Human Rights cities concept, Ms Windi Arini points out the potential for efficient and local results by emphasizing the role of local government authority’s vis-a-vis human rights. Indeed, this is not an easy task, but she believes RWI have experience and knowledge to offer.   

The release of “Localising Human Rights in the Context of SDGs: a Handbook for cities” will be able to provide guidance in the achievement of implementing human rights at the local level and taking the first step to become a Human Rights city through participatory processes.

“Public participation is a critical issue we aim tackle through the Inclusive Societies programme. The research done in Indonesia shows how women aren’t been involved enough in policy making processes.” Ms. Arini says.

By combining research and direct engagement within specific areas of the world, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute has the ability to tackle local Human Rights issues. Advancing towards gender equality, for better inclusion, respect and access to opportunities serves not only Women’s rights but Human Rights. Hence, being able to acknowledge the discrimination women face and the issues which must be tackled, is a necessity towards a more sustainable future.

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