2024 International Women’s Day Message by Commonwealth Secretary-General

08 March 2024
2024 International Women’s Day Message by Commonwealth Secretary-General

On International Women's Day, we come together with respect and admiration to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women and girls across all walks of life, in every part of our Commonwealth family.

We honour their courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment to building a brighter, more inclusive and more resilient common future.

Our Commonwealth is home to a rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and voices, and the leadership of women who inspire and empower us every day – from Africa and the Caribbean to Europe and the Asia-Pacific – lies at the heart of our collective strength.

From heads of state and government to grassroots activists, entrepreneurs, and innovators, women across the Commonwealth are driving change, breaking barriers, and shaping the destiny of nations.

But International Women’s Day is also a moment to recognise the enormous obstacles women still face — from structural injustices, marginalisation, and violence, to cascading crises which affect them first and worst, and challenges to their personal autonomy.

Gender-based discrimination harms everyone – women, girls, men, and boys – and there is still far too much of it. So, whilst International Women's Day is a day for celebration, it is also a call to action. Action to stand with women who challenge engrained threats to their fundamental rights. Action to further strengthen protection against gender-based violence, through our Commonwealth Says No More campaign. And action to accelerate women's full participation and leadership.

This year, through International Women’s Day we will #InspireInclusion.

And there can be no more important way to inspire inclusion in the future economy than to harness technology and innovation to advance gender equality.  Technology can expand pathways to education and opportunities for women and girls. But it can also be used to amplify abuse and inequality.

Globally, women make up under a third of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and maths. And when women are under-represented in developing new technologies, structural inequality is more likely to be inbuilt from the outset. So we must deliver on the mandates of our Heads of Government to close the digital divide and increase the representation of women and girls in science and technology.

Unequal access to the digital economy for women has wiped an estimated $1 trillion from the GDP of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade. Without action, this loss will continue to grow, so we are working every day across our Commonwealth to improve digital skills and access for women at every level in our 56 countries. 

Investment in women is investment in all people, communities, and countries. 

So let us come together, and work together – across governments, the private sector and civil society – to build a more inclusive, just, and prosperous world for women and girls, safe in the knowledge that achieving this will mean a more inclusive, just and prosperous world for everyone, everywhere.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Media and Public Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6168 |  E-mail