Sunday, February 27, 2011

March 8th is International Women's Day. So what's the significance?

March 8th is International Women's Day.  How many of you knew this and have recognized International Women's Day in some fashion?  
Most likely we may have heard about this historical day but we have not given it more than a nod.  This is a day for women of the world to recognize the advances made in the struggle for equality, peace and development.  This day is also an opportunity to network, unite and mobilize for meaningful change, according to the United Nations.
Now some us may be thinking blah, blah, blah.  
Well, not all the battles have been won in the struggle for equality. Women are more visible and have certainly made advances.  However, due to the cultural longevity of the oppression of women in subtle ways and blatant actions, awareness and movement for equality is a long term process that advances in daily actions.  Cultural and societal change is the responsibility of today's women.
So, March 8th is a day to increase awareness of today's conditions.  Women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics.  Globally, women have less access to education and choices for health,  plus violence against women is still rampant in many parts of the world and experienced in our own communities.
This day and concept has been evolving since 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The glaring oppression and blatant inequality compelled women to take action.
The United Nations began recognizing March 8th as International Women's Day during the International Women's Year in 1975.  The General Assembly took this action to "recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security."
World wide thousands of events will be taking place to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more, according to the United Nations.  Check out events in your region here.
When deciding how much weight to give this day, ask the question: If once the facts are known, is it ethical to ignore them?