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8 March, International Women’s day: UNESCO better equipped than ever to support women’s empowerment in the field of living heritage


On the 8th of March 2021, the Living Heritage Entity joins its voice to that of the entire UN family by celebrating this International Women’s Day under the theme of “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment but also to critically reflect on those accomplishments and strive for a greater momentum towards gender equality.

Gender is essential in the practice, transmission and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). It also plays an important role in the creation and dissemination of values and norms, and their transformation. Lack of attention to gender, in all its manifestations, can distort the identification and representation of ICH and exclude or marginalize certain groups in the processes of safeguarding and transmission. Furthermore, one must bear in mind that the gender constellations of ICH are manifold, and gender dynamics and gender norms need to be understood within their cultural and historical contexts. Like intangible cultural heritage, gender norms are constantly changing and adapting to new circumstances.

The 2003 Convention has developed many different tools, among which a visualization allowing the viewers to grasp the interactions between ICH elements and gender equality. The Secretariat has also organized various events across its network, in collaboration with local authorities and communities. The implementation of these tools, awareness raising activities and training sessions with facilitators organized thus far, have strengthened the programme’s ability to offer effective training on gender-responsive approaches in the field of intangible cultural heritage.

Discover below several resources and documentation related to ICH and gender equality
  • A general introduction to ICH & gender can be found in a dedicated brochure English|French|Spanish|Russian|Arabic|Bengali|Bhutani|Indonesian|Korean|Mongolian|Malay|Nepali |Singhalese|Tamil|Thai|Tonga|Uzbek|Vietnamese|Dhivehi
  • Chapter VI of the Operational Directives tackles ICH and sustainable development and also includes a Section on gender equality English|French|Spanish|Russian|Arabic|Chinese
  • The global report on “Gender equality, heritage and creativity” includes a chapter dedicated to ICH and gender

Find a list of developed training materials and activities over the last two years
  • A 2-minutes video on the topic titled “Let’s discuss gender and intangible cultural heritage” can be found online English|French|Spanish
  • An excellent information sheet on ICH-related policy and gender titled “Gender equality policy” English|French|Arabic in preparation
  • Units 48-49 of the capacity-building materials present several case studies on ICH and gender
  • ResiliArt online dialogue titled Living heritage experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic includes an excellent example on gender and ICH from Peru
  • A data visualization using innovative ways to explore ICH and its relationship with Sustainable Development Goal 5, “Gender Equality”

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