Source: The Guardian
Around the world, International Women's Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

 ‘Make It Happen’ is the 2015 theme for our international women’s day. It encourages effective action for advancing and recognising women.

 Each year the International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. 
Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Guardian over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s National Programme Coordinator Women Entrepreneurship Development and Economic Empowerment Noreen Toroka said IWD is very important because it provides a forum for Tanzanian women be able to voice out their needs and voices.
She further retaliated that IWD is a forum where women advocate for their support from their government and other key players.
When the world is about to celebrate the International Women's Day (IWD), come March 08, Toroka has called on the government and other partners to seriously support women entrepreneurs, because by doing so they generate income, create jobs not only for themselves but also the income they get contributes to the nation economy. 
“Women allover the world contributes a lot to community development; thus, supporting them, means we are supporting women for ourselves, families and our nation economy,” she noted.
As Gloria Steinem once said, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." 
Toroko also notes, “90 percent of women allover the world are the engines of their households.”
Women celebrate their day.
As it said, ‘in every perfection there is imperfection,’ Toroka says the major challenges her office faces when dealing with women issues are among others, inadequate resources and lack of financial linkages.
She said that although they have been struggling to link women entrepreneurs with some banks to get loans for their businesses, the banks’ policies and requirements have been a stumbling block.
However, Toroka has advised women to continue with what they are currently doing, because they contribute a lot to job creation and households’ income, among others.
She has said in order for women entrepreneurs to compete in the national, regional and international markets, they should learn entrepreneurial and marketing skills. They need also to utilise information technology that can help them promote their products.
Toroka has also urged women entrepreneurs who engage in cross-border trades to neighbouring countries to add value to their products before selling them abroad as raw products.
ILO Tanzania Office has been working tirelessly to ensure Tanzanian women are economically and entrepreneurially empowered. It is believed that when you empower a woman, you empower the society.
The Organisation has been carrying out various entrepreneurial economic programmes mainly focusing to empowering women.
Some of those programmes according to Toroka include women’s entrepreneurship development and economic empowerment (WEDEE).
WEDEE is a programme aimed at assisting women who want to start or strengthen their already started  small-scale business in promoting enterprise development.
The programme highlights essential entrepreneurial skills from a gender perspective, whether applied to starting or improving an individual, family or group business.
It addresses the practical and strategic needs of low income women in enterprise by strengthening their basic needs and people management skills.
Other project is (ILO/WEDEE) conducted in collaboration with Medicins Du Monde and United Nations office for drug and Crime (UNODC).
In this programme Toroka says, WEDEE trains sex workers and former drug users to make them change their behaviour and engage in meaningful income generating business and more sustainable enterprises. 
Other findings indicate that when the 2015, International Women’s Day which is due to be celebrated globally on  March 8, will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realising women’s rights. 
While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.
This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognise challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilise all people to do their part. 
The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is the clarion call of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaigns ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!’ Join governments and activists across the world in commemorating the ground-breaking conference of 1995. 
We celebrate the many achievements that have come since then and galvanise action to address the gaps that still remain in making gender equality a reality. 
In her message for International Women's Day 2015, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says gender parity must be reached before 2030, so that the sluggish trajectory of progress can be reversed that condemns a child born today to wait 80 years before it sees an equal world.
Calling on all countries to “step it up” for gender equality, to reach ‘Planet 50-50’ before 2030, the UN Women Executive Director stressed, “We call on countries to ‘step it up’ for gender equality.”
The year 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, a significant turning point in the global agenda for gender equality. 
The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, adopted unanimously by 189 countries in 1995, is a visionary blueprint for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Twenty years on, the Beijing promise is only partially fulfilled, and its 20-year anniversary provides new opportunities to galvanise political will, reconnect and mobilise the public. 
To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, celebrated globally on  March 8, is the clarion call of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”.  
To celebrate achievements made in ensuring gender equal laws and practices, as well as to readdress the gaps that remain, a march for gender equality and women’s rights will take place. 


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