International Women’s Day is held each year on 8 March. It was first observed worldwide in 1909.
There are 20 women Presidents and Prime Ministers in the world; seven from Commonwealth countries: Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, India's President Pratibha Patil, Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Malawi's President Joyce Banda, Mauritius' President Monique Ohsan Bellepeau and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar.
Currently, 13 Commonwealth countries are in the top 40 for mainstreaming women into Parliaments: Australia, Canada, Guyana, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda. Rwanda ranks first with 56 per cent.
A third of African countries have over 30 per cent representation of women in governance.
Following constitutional amendments to reserve a third of all local government seats for women in India, over one million have been elected to the Panchayat Raj (local government)
Each year, more than 500,000 women – at least one every minute – die from pregnancy-related causes. The vast majority of these deaths occur in developing countries. An African woman's lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes is one in 16; in Asia, it's one in 65. In Europe, it's one in 1,400.
Women produce half the world's food, but own only 1 per cent of its farmland.
Past mortality rates for females in child-bearing age groups were higher than males at the same age. This is no longer the case. Female human life expectancy is considerably higher than men.
The first computer programmer was a woman in 1842: Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), analyst of Charles Babbage‘s analytical engine.
The first country to grant women the right to vote was New Zealand in 1893.
700,000 people will experience domestic violence in the UK. 90 per cent are white British females
Gender-based violence causes more deaths and disabilities among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war.
More than one billion people live in extreme poverty, 75 per cent are women and girls.
7 of the top 9 Fortune list of the most powerful businesswomen are from Commonwealth countries.
Enquiries on our gender work:
Ms Linda Kalindigender@commonwealth.int
Victoria Holdsworth+44(0)20 7747 email@example.com