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(The United Nations Country Team in Jamaica celebrating the 2011 International Women's Day. Sovereign Centre, Kingston, Jamaica on March, 08, 2011. Photo/Tamika Wright Q Studios)
A hundred years ago, on the 8th of March 1911, women across the world took an historic step on the long road to equality. The first ever International Women's Day was called to draw attention to the unacceptable and often dangerous working conditions that so many women faced worldwide, demanding not just better conditions at work but also the right to vote, to hold office and to be equal partners with men.
Despite the progress that has been made, the hopes expressed on that first International Women's day have a long way to be fully realized.
The United Nations, through its agencies, funds and programmes, is actively involved in making those hopes come true, believing that Gender equality and women's empowerment are human rights that lie at the heart of development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The United Nations Country Team in Jamaica, acting collectively, celebrated 100 years of empowerment of Women by organizing a mini-public exposition held on International Women's Day, 8 March, 2011 at the Sovereign Shopping Centre, Kingston, Jamaica.
Under the theme "The United Nations celebrating International Women's Day: 100 Years of Empowerment of Women" the Sovereign Shopping Centre's visitors discovered how the UN agencies in Jamaica impact Women and gender issues through different approaches and in each agency's particular area of development focus. Shoppers of all ages and men and women were motivated to actively participate and interact thanks to the magnetic MC's, Empress Mullings and Donisha Prendergast, and through the distribution of informative materials, booth displays, video and power point presentations, live performances, speeches and quizzes with prizes. Famous as well as emerging singers, performers and musicians provided entertainment with messages of women's empowerment. Performers included noted drummer, Bongo Herman, Digicel Rising Star Winner for 2008, Cameal Davies, and another popular contestant K'Alee; as well as Jah9, Kai Wakeling, Becky Depass, Marcus Crawford ‘Marcus-I'. Demonstrating true commitment to the cause the artists all entertained brilliantly and at no cost. Heads of Agencies and other UN Country Team members in live radio interviews elaborated on how the UN in Jamaica supports the Government and people to achieve Nationals goals. This was made possible as Power 106 Radio broadcasted live from the venue thereby allowing the event to better reach a wider audience.
The UN System was represented by seven bodies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO)/Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
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