International Women's Day 2014
Inmates dance in an event ahead of the International Women's Day at Santa Monica female prison in Lima, Peru. The International Women's Day is on 8 March.Reuters

The United Nations has announced the theme for International Women's Day 2014 (IWD), which falls on 8 March.

Observed every year on 8 March by UN since 1975, the International Women's Day marks the celebration of achievements of women across fields.

According to the UN, the day "is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities."

This year, the day will be commemorated at the UN headquarters in New York from 12-1pm ET on 7 March.

IWD 2014 theme

This year's Women's Day theme says: "Equality for women is progress for all."

"This International Women's Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

"Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support."

"The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all," he added.

How equality for women is progress for all

Several UN associates also spoke on how equality for women would be the headway to solving many of the world's problems such as poverty.

"Women spend the majority of their income on the well-being of their children and family. Raising women's labour force participation increases economic growth," UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

"By ending women's poverty, we will sustainably and significantly reduce extreme poverty worldwide." 

Equality for women can also help combat global environmental challenges, including land degradation and climate change, according to UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

"Today, more than 2 billion people depend on small scale farmers, and women play a pivotal role. They make up nearly half of the agricultural labor force," UNCCD executive secretary Monique Barbut said.

"Securing their equality would not only benefit them, but everyone as well."

"If we want to increase, our productivity, our food security and improve our resilience to climate change, if we want to reverse outmigration, water conflicts, civil wars and state failure, we need policy incentives that, at the very least, place female land users, farmers and producers on par with males in their access to resources, knowledge and decision-making," she added.