For information only - not an official document

  7March 2019

Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov:

Statement on International Women's Day

8 March 2019

VIENNA, 8 March (UN Information Service) - Women's empowerment is essential in guaranteeing human rights, building peace and security and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the progress made, gender equality is still far from becoming a reality in many areas of our lives.

We need to heed the call of this year's International Women's Day to "think equal, build smart, innovate for change", and do more to advance gender-responsive systems and services, including to counter gender-based violence and discrimination.

Out of the 87,000 women intentionally killed in 2017, 30,000 were killed by a current or former intimate partner and 20,000 were killed by other family members. Some 70 per cent of the detected trafficking victims worldwide are female. The proportion of women sentenced for drug-related offences is higher than that of men. And women with drug use disorders encounter significant structural, social, cultural and personal barriers in accessing treatment.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is helping develop and promote gender-responsive approaches in the areas across its mandate, from criminal justice to prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for drugs as well as HIV/AIDS, thus contributing to improving equality of access to public services.

We strive to strengthen criminal justice responses to eliminate violence against women and extend essential services to victims of this violence. Our Office also supports criminal justice systems to build gender perspectives in efforts to prevent and counter terrorism.

UNODC works to promote women's participation and representation in criminal justice agencies, where they are often significantly underrepresented, particularly at the senior and managerial level. Studies have shown that more women in law enforcement can result in systemic changes, including more effective policing styles, reduced costs and lower rates of escalation of violence.

And because we can only act upon what we are able to measure and understand, UNODC is at the forefront of gender-responsive drug- and crime-related research and analysis, through the World Drug Report, the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons and the Global Study on Homicide, as well as the forthcoming handbook on Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism.

On today's International Women's Day, I am proud to reaffirm UNODC's commitment to women's empowerment as a building block of resilient societies.

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For further information please contact:

Sonya Yee
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
Email: sonya.yee[at]