Summary report by UNIS Vienna on IWD 2006

For International Women's Day 2006, UNIS participated in two key events:


a 'Women's Convention', organized by the Austrian Ministry of Health and Women.  The two day event focuses on career and business mentoring for and by women.

The event started off with a panel discussion with the Austrian Federal Minister for Health and Women, Maria Rauch-Kallat  and the Austrian Federal Minister for Justice, Karin Gastinger.  Video messages from all members of the Austrian government , focusing on the Austrian government's efforts to give equal opportunities to women in all areas were shown. Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel in his message pointed out with pride, that out of 12 Austrian ministers, 6 were women, thus having reached gender equality on high level political posts in Austria.

The event includes lectures on women in decision making in politics, business and academia and an information fair with a large variety of information stands on how women can 'break through the glass ceiling'.

The German version of the Secretary-General's message, fact-sheets and IWD press releases issued by UNIS were included in the information folders handed out to the participants and the thousands of visitors during this two-day event.

The event was covered by Austrian TV and radio and a large number of representatives of key Austrian print media.


UNIS Vienna also participated in another IWD-related event on 7 March, organized by the NGO "Women Without Borders", in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Chancellery. The event was opened by a Head of Department in the Austrian Federal Chancellery, Harald Treiber; Director, United Nations Information Service Vienna, Nasra Hassan; and President, Women Without Borders, Edith Schlaffer.  In her opening remarks, Ms. Schlaffer emphasized that women were the backbone and the motor of modernization. Ms. Hassan delivered the Secretary-General's message on International Women's Day 2006, in German. She added that Austria was making very valuable contributions to improving the situation of women worldwide, both through the country's official development cooperation activities, and through the work of NGOs such as Women Without Borders, which reached and helped women even in small villages. A film on empowering women, "Women Swimming into the Future - Different Strokes" was shown. The event was attended by around 80 government officials and high-level representatives of politics and civil society, including members of parliament and presidents of NGOs. UNIS Vienna distributed information materials on International Women's Day, including the Secretary-General's message, the UNIS press release, and the backgrounder on "Women and Decision Making".

At the Vienna International Centre, staff members of the Vienna-based United Nations entities and representatives of permanent missions observed IWD with the reading of the Secretary-General's message followed by a keynote speech on

"Women in Decision Making"  by Shizuyo Kusumi, Commissioner of the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission, and a lecture on "Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Mobbing)" by psychiatrist/neurologist Dr. B. Schmidl-Mohl.  A film about women's rights movement in Japan in the post-World War II period was screened. UNIS provided copies of the message of the Secretary-General, fact-sheets and IWD press releases issued by UNIS.

Net profits of a flower sale, organized every year by the VIC Women's Group, will go to a project providing shelter, food and schooling for orphaned or abandoned girls in Nigeria.

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