International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Yet progress has slowed in many places across the world. Global action is needed to accelerate gender equality. In Africa gender equality cannot be achieved when young women are still at a higher risk of HIV infection. In order to accelerate gender equality and empower women we need to look at the factors that put women at higher risk of HIV including; gender-based violence, limited access to health care and education coupled with systems and policies that do not address the needs of young people.
The themes across social media on International women’s day (#IWD2017) are highlighting many issues, including: SRHR and family planning for the young girls, gender equality, ending child marriage, stopping violence against women, and economic empowerment of women. Although there is a HIV component to each of these themes, it is not enough. We need to make sure HIV awareness, treatment, care and support are still being highlighted as a crucial part of women empowerment.