About the Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group

Women play a crucial role in realising basic human rights for all and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Meeting the information needs of women is a major contribution of the library field to global development.

The Special Interest Group focuses on women as users of library and information services, as workers in the library field, and as providers of information.

The overarching strategic framework is formed by the UN treaties, programs and initiatives related to women and information to create a fruitful link between IFLA and relevant international organisations.


The Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group's mission is the promotion, development and support of library and information services for the benefit of women, and society as a whole.


Taking into account IFLA's statements at the World Summit of the Information Society, UNESCO, and the United Nations and considering:

The implications of the Millennium Development Goals for libraries worldwide:

At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 the states of the United Nations reaffirmed their commitment to working toward a world in which sustaining development and eliminating poverty would have the highest priority. The Millennium Development Goals grew out of the agreements and resolutions of world conferences organized by the United Nations in the past decade. The goals have been commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress.

The empowerment of women through education and information:

Empowering women through education is one of the most crucial concerns of the Millennium Development Goal on gender equality. The United Nations and its agencies have long encouraged the world community to discourage gender stereotypes and to strengthen the status of women within the family and in society as a whole. One of the key ways of doing so is by supporting the education of women, and especially girls.

Equality and equal opportunities for women:

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women's equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life -- including the right to vote and to stand for election -- as well as education, health and employment.

States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The advancement through new technology:

Women and the Media - During the past decade, advances in information technology have facilitated a global communications network that transcends national boundaries and has an impact on public policy, private attitudes, and behaviour, especially of children and young adults. Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women.

The Special Interest Group aims:

  • To identify the information needs and barriers to information access by women, especially in the most needed circumstances.
  • To advocate the development of comprehensive and accessible library and information services, especially for women as crucial actors in the development of new generations.
  • To promote professional and public awareness of the importance of library services and information services for achieving Millennium Development Goals.
  • To encourage and foster relevant ties among the organizations and institutions in the library community and organisations related to women.
  • To disseminate information in support of the goals and objectives of IFLA internationally. 


  • Organise a focussed discussion on Women, Information and Libraries in relation to the UN Millennium Goals in Durban.
  • Organise a Discussion list or Online Forum to discuss, encourage communication and support of ideas, and disseminate information relating to the activities of the DG.

Mailing List


Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group's mailing list

The Women, Information and Libraries Special Interest Group's mailing list is a closed list where subscribers can post about current activities, meetings, call for papers, and initiate discussions of topics relevant to WIL.

Note: WILL-L is a closed list (restricted to subscribers).

Other contacts

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wilsig/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wil_ifla

Women, Information and Libraries

Last update: 10 February 2020