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Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women's Lives

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

Across Asia-Pacific and globally, UNFPA works to achieve Three Transformational Results at the core of our Strategic Plan 2018-2021: Zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and other harmful practices against women and girls. 

This supports the longstanding goals of the ICPD Programme of Action as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underpinned by its Sustainable Development Goals whose pledge is ultimately to reach the most vulnerable and leave no one behind. 

Making this pledge a reality needs urgent action everywhere, but all the more so in rural and neglected areas to ensure adequate standards of living, a life free of violence and harmful practices for rural women, as well as their access to land and productive assets, food security and nutrition, decent work, education and health, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

UNFPA partners with governments and civil society to focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.  

This vision, together with our Three Transformational Results, is symbolized by the following stories illustrating how "transformative activism" encompasses midwifery and skilled birth attendance; youth advocating for comprehensive sexuality education and an end to child marriage; communities where women and girls work with men and boys to address gender-based violence; and - reflecting the fast-changing demographics in our region - how population ageing is bringing about new approaches to ensuring the well-being of older persons, in particular women who, in general, significantly outlive men.