December 18, 1972

UN Declares 1975 International Women’s Year

In June 1946, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to prepare recommendations and reports to the UN on promoting women’s equality in all fields and to make recommendations on urgent problems of women’s rights. In 1972, twenty-five years after the CSW was formed, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that 1975 would be designated as International Women’s Year. The impetus for this came from many directions: women in East and West Europe called for it to be about peace, women in the midst of a feminist resurgence in North and South America as well as some Asia countries saw it as about equality, and many governments in Asia and Africa called for primarily addressing women’s role in development. The proclamation served as an invitation to all member states to take steps to realize the rights and advancement of women in Equality, Development, and Peace, and as outlined within the 1967 Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women that was one of the norm setting victories of the CSW. It also served as an invitation to all governments to ratify the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention Concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, adopted in 1951.