UNICEF Volunteers advancing gender equality

On International Women's Day, we celebrate our UNICEF Volunteers who are empowering girls in their communities and around the world

07 March 2022

We experience gender inequality in our homes and communities every day. In the contexts of education, health, environment, and anywhere else, women are the ones who have to bear the severe impact -  a global challenge that persists in the 21st century. There is plenty of evidence that women and girls bear the brunt of the climate and health crisis:

School closures during COVID-19 have devastating effects on girls, as schools remain the strongest social networks for adolescent girls. When girls are cut off from these networks, their risk of violence increases. And when schools do reopen, many girls may not return. Moreover, 80 per cent of the displaced by climate related disasters and changes around the world are women and girls, demonstrating how profoundly intertwined gender and climate are.

But without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future for all remains beyond our reach.

At the same time, women and girls are change-makers for equality and sustainability. Today, on the International Women's Day, we present a few of them. Like Manon and Mariam.

Manon and Mariam are UNICEF volunteers, working in the field, and examining the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice. Through their work, they promote equal participation in community discussions and decision-making. Every day, they advocate for greater gender equality and better societies for everyone. Watch their interviews and see how they contribute change in the lives of children and young people

Manon Giovinazzo, Girls Education Specialist - UNICEF Djibouti

Manon Giovinazzo is 26 years old, and she arrived in Djibouti to join UNICEF as a Girls Education Specialist. Her understanding of the educational gap between boys and girls deepened ever since.

 "In our conversations with women around the world, we hear about the struggles, but we also need to listen to their ideas - many of which, if they were applied they could facilitate change"

Manon Giovinazzo, Girls Education Specialist

Mariam Mmbaga, Adolescent Officer - UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office

Mariam is an African Union Youth Volunteer at our Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya. She understands that if we are to achieve equal access for girls and women in the future, men and boys need to play an active role.

"We can achieve gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow if we address challenges faced by girls today because they are the women of tomorrow. We have to involve boys and men to achieve this"

Mariam Mmbaga, Adolescent Officer 

Volunteering at UNICEF

There are different ways to volunteer at UNICEF. We partner with the UN Volunteer programme, as well as other Organizations, to bring the most passionate and diverse talent in the work for children and young people.

> Click here to learn more about the UNV Programme and volunteering at UNICEF

International Women's Day 2022 at the UN and UN Women

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.

> Click here to learn more about International Women's Day at UN Women and the United Nations

Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director
Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director

“On International Women’s Day, we acknowledge the international community’s hard-fought gains for the world’s women and girls. We celebrate the remarkable achievements of women and girls in our societies. And we redouble our commitment to extend those gains to every girl, everywhere.”

Catherine Russel, UNICEF Executive Director