UN Women for Peace held the first “Annual March to End Violence Against Women” on March 8, 2013 (International Women’s Day).

The first march of these international women called attention to this worldwide problem. The event was a tremendous success. Hundreds gathered on a snowy and windy morning at the gates of the UN and made their way to Dag Hammarskjold Park.

Carrying a 20’ banner boldly announcing their cause, the marchers led by UNWFP Patron Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, along with international stars Susan Sarandon, Christy Turlington, Kelly Rutherford, Alexis Bledel, Alexandra Richards, and Monique Coleman as well as UN officials Lakshmi Puri, deputy director UN Women, Amb. Rosemary A. DiCarlo, U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN, Muna Rihani Al Nasser, the chair of UN Women for Peace, HE Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, President, of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and DMIA Board Member, among many other dignitaries, guests and supporters.

The face of the 2013 March on March 8 was that of Malala Yousafzai: “I have the right to an education. I have the right to speak. I have the right to sing. I have the right.” These are the words of Malala, a young Pakistani girl who on 9 October 2012, was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. Even before the assassination attempt, Malala was known as an impassioned advocate for education, despite reported death threats. She was just 12 when the Taliban shut down her school. In a statement released on February 4, she said "I want every girl, every child to be educated.” Malala became the symbol of hope to young women around the world. Her videotape made exclusively for the UN Women for Peace appeared on all major media. Her message was read by Susan Sarandon during the March 8 program.