The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) marked International Women's Day by calling on women decision-makers to improve the economic lives of women across the globe.
UNIFEM director Noeleen Heyzer says International Women's Day is a time to celebrate progress women have made, including laws in 45 nations to end violence against women and the historic elections of women presidents in Africa and Latin America.
But Heyzer says it is also an occasion to reflect on areas of the world where progress has been too slow and to recognize that the face of poverty is the face of a woman.
"While more and more women are entering the workforce, they are entering it at the more insecure sector, the informal sector of the economy," she said.
UNIFEM says that women working in the informal economy do not receive benefits or financial security. The organization estimates that 330 million women in the global economy earn less than $1 per day.
Heyzer says it is time for women in power to push for change and devote more resources to empowering women.
"The good news is that today we actually have something like 41 women ministers in economic positions of decision-making," she added. "We have 20 ministers of finance, 10 ministers of economy, of development planning, and eleven ministers or secretaries of state addressing issues of budget, auditing, investment, and revenue. Therefore, they need to follow the money to make sure that the money is used to empower women at the grass roots level."
UNIFEM says a global coalition of women economic decision-makers is needed to ensure that women receive stronger economic rights and security and equal access to education.