Graphic for International Women's Day 2018

Women are central to the well-being of any society. In turn, meaningful access to information and the defence of cultural rights is central to the empowerment of women. Meeting these needs is a major contribution of the library field.

Libraries can help as gateways to information, with librarians, as information specialists, able to craft programmes to deliver meaningful access, especially at times of crisis. They are also essential in protecting their cultural rights.

Projects have been created to support this in many countries and the work should be continued and enhanced. The IFLA Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group (WILSIG) documented the key roles of libraries in sharing and preserving women’s memories, in a society that too often listens primarily to men.

WILSIG emphasized librarians’ expertise in supporting women by archiving and providing access to women’s material in a sensitive way, their interaction with third-party platforms such as Wikipedia, and helping those whose voices may not be heard engage and contribute on an equal footing with others. WILSIG also documented the important role libraries play for the protection of refugee and migrant women’s rights. Through these ways,

While high-level reforms may create equality in legal terms, it is bottom-up services that will address the day-to-day problems linked to a lack of information and the violation of cultural rights.  On 8 March 2018 and beyond, let’s celebrate the role of women and libraries and their contribution to the well-being of our society.

See also our blog looking at access to information and the gender divide.