International Women’s Day is drawing near, and this year’s celebrations will hold special significance in light of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. For libraries, this is an opportunity to join in the global discussion, celebrate the achievements, reflect on lessons learned and chart future action towards gender equality.

25 years ago, the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing saw over 17000 participants – government representatives, activists and other stakeholders – work together to develop an ambitious roadmap towards women’s empowerment and gender equality – the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. A 25 year review of its implementation in 2020 has launched a global discussion on how to make further progress and deliver on these objectives within the decade.

Libraries can make an important contribution to reaching these goals. Meaningful access to information lies at the heart of the library profession. A key mission of libraries is to meet people’s information needs and equip them with the skills and confidence to make use of this information to improve their livelihoods.

The Beijing Platform illustrates that access to information, knowledge and learning opportunities impact many dimensions of women’s empowerment: health and wellbeing, education, participation in political and economic life; and libraries can offer a barrier-free and inclusive way to provide such access.

Over the years, libraries have worked to help empower women and girls in other ways as well: helping women get online to reduce the existing digital divides, preserving and sharing their narratives, raising awareness and knowledge on issues crucial to women and girls’ wellbeing, and more.

In light of these experiences and expertise, library voices can be a valuable contribution to the discussions on future action towards gender equality on this International Women’s Day and throughout 2020!

To inspire library and information professionals to join the conversation, IFLA has prepared a 2020 Women’s Day Advocacy Kit for libraries. In this kit, you will find:

  • An introduction to 2020 International Women’s Day and why this year’s celebrations hold special significance
  • An outline of IFLA activities around International Women’s Day 2020
  • Key messages to share on this Women’s Day
  • More suggestions on how libraries can celebrate the Day and help champion gender equality every day.

You can visit the publication page to download the kit.

To find out more about Beijing+25, you can also read the IFLA briefing about the review process and the role of access to information in the Platform for Action.