International Women’s Day: Inspiring Change
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director: International Women’s Day 2014
Timeline of International Women’s Day (IWD)
28 February 1909 – First observed in the USA as National Women’s Day in Chicago
August 1910 – Attendees at the International Women’s Conference in Denmark propose the idea
18 March, 1911 – IWD was celebrated by over a million people in Europe; right to vote, hold public office and end gender discrimination at work were key issues.
February 1913 – Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day. In 1917, it became official in the region.
March 1914 – International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time on Sunday, March 8, and this date has continued as the preferred/official day since.
October 1, 1949 – In the People’s Republic of China, the state council decided that March 8 would be made an official half day off holiday for women in China
1977 – International Women’s Day (marked by the UN since 1975), became a popular event when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the official UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
March 8 2010 – International Women’s Day – the ICRC (Red Cross) drew attention to the hardship displaced women endure (refugees and others at war) and has continued its call to end armed conflict.
March 8 2011 – International Women’s Day – Celebrations took place in more than 100 countries in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day
March 8 1996 -2014 – Every year, the UN adopts a special theme to focus attention on for International Women’s Day 2014 is Inspire Change. *See the rest below
Sources: UN Women Watch, International Women’s Day.com, Wikipedia
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as International Working Women’s Day and the theme for this year is – Inspiring Change. The premise for the 2014 IWD theme is that we still need to not only champion the social, political and economic achievements of women, but also to continue to fight for women’s rights and inspire change globally. When I read about this year’s theme, what struck me was how far we’ve come and how much work remains in the struggle for Women’s equality in an unequal world. Even as more of us leave the home to go to work, our pay is still 77 cents for every dollar paid to our male colleagues, and, the proverbial glass ceiling remains a barrier for women in the workplace. For most women with children, the work day continues when they get home. In countries around the world, women are discouraged from getting an education, and early marriage and domestic abuse continues to rise.
Timeline of women’s rights (other than voting)
1718 – Gender segregation banned in Russia, Taxpaying women allowed to vote in Sweden, Married women allowed to manage/own property in Pennsylvania
1829 – Sati is banned in India
1864 – Elementary schools for girls are opened in Haiti
1873 – Mothers in the UK are granted guardianship for children at divorce
1887 – Universities open to women in Mexico
1900 – A school for female teachers is opened in Egypt
1902 – Foot binding abolished in China.
1986 – Women in Djibouti can stand for election
2007 – Women can serve in combat roles in the New Zealand Defense Force
When I speak to groups of women, I hear the same answer; We want change. We want work and pay equity. We want an end to domestic/spousal abuse and an end to all forms of violence against women. We want representation in higher office and so called non-traditional fields. However, change is not the responsibility of a few. Change cannot happen in a vacuum. Each of us has a role to play and we can’t do it alone. We can work with organizations that help women and in our communities. What are you doing to empower other women and create change?
A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” Melinda Gates
Celebrating Working Women: International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day 2014 Theme: INSPIRING CHANGE
If we are to achieve progress for girls and women globally, we must all be actively engaged in working for equity in a number of important ways:
- Educate ourselves and our children to set aside male/female roles and stereotypes.
- Encourage our daughters to pursue all fields of interest and develop a curiosity for things outside the tradition.
- Support other women and recruit, mentor, and promote qualified women on the job.
- Support efforts to improve the lives/livelihood of Poor women, Single moms, Migrant women, Displaced women/refugees and all forms of oppression against women. Demand legislative action from your party representatives.
- Vote to end Pay and other forms of gender inequity
Since 1996, the UN has adopted an Official theme for International Women’s Day UN. The goal is to increase awareness about important issues that impact women’s lives. The themes are:
1996 Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
1997 Women and the Peace Table
1998 Women and Human Rights
1999 World Free of Violence Against Women
2000 Women Uniting for Peace
2001 Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
2002 Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
2003 Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
2004 Women and HIV/AIDS
2005 Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future
2006 Women in Decision-making
2007 Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls
2008 Investing in Women and Girls
2009 Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls
2010 Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All
2011 Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women
2012 Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger
2013 A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women
2014 Inspiring Change
“Equal pay for work of equal value” should be a non-issue by now, yet it remains a constant complaint from women around the world. What other points would you add to the above? How can we work together to help build equity in our society and globally?
What are your thoughts? Did you celebrate International Women’s Day? Do share! Happy International Women’s Day ! Thank you.
For More: Women’s Lives & Issues
Positive Motivation Tip: Women can inspire change in each other by being supportive and applauding efforts made, and speaking out against oppressive behavior. Take a stand. Inspire.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos & Posters via InternationalWomensDay.com or via Wikipedia Or Flickr