TODAY, we celebrate International Women's Day. What started as a tribute to a 1908 strike by the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union in the United States has now become an opportunity for women around the world to demonstrate their commitment to political, economic and social equality.

The context of this year’s Women’s Day is fundamentally different to last year. We are observing a rise of nationalism which can undermine our liberal European culture, values and human rights, including women's rights.

Europe has set the benchmark for women's rights and is an example that other continents follow. And that means we must be advocates for women’s rights at home and abroad. Since the 1960s our place in society has changed. But there is more to be done. And we need to ensure that our daughters shouldn't revisit the same battles that our grandmothers already won.

Today, in Europe, more women are graduating from universities than men. European women have more job opportunities, but they are still overrepresented in low-paid sectors as well as in low-paid jobs. And in the workplace, women are not yet equally represented in decision-making positions. Too many women are also left with the dilemma of how to reconcile work and family.

Respect for diversity, and respect for the individual, are more than just political values in Europe. They also define who we are as Europeans. Equality between women and men is a fundamental right. We aspire to create a Europe where a woman applying for a job has a real chance of getting it. We want a Europe that enables both men and women to take time off work to care for their children, or for sick or elderly relatives. Many women are also victims of sexism and harassment in the work place, on the street, when using public transport or at home. We want a Europe free of violence against women and we want safe spaces for women to seek help.

Today is a good day to look around the world and remind ourselves that Europe is a good place for women. But we still have work to do. On International Women’s Day, we call on all women and men in Europe to join us in discussion and action. Our aim is to make this a better Europe for all of us and for our children. But we have a duty towards girls and women also beyond our borders: no right is really granted untilit's granted to women all over the world.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini; European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström; European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen; European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc; European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, El?bieta Bie?kowska; European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, V?ra Jourová; European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cre?u; European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager,

c/o European Commission Office in Scotland, 9 Alva Street, Edinburgh.