Annually on March 8, IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. It’s a gender parity party! It’s a fairness festival! It’s an equality event! The 2019 theme is #BalanceForBetter.
IWD provides an important moment to showcase commitment to women’s equality, launch new initiatives and action, celebrate women’s achievements, and raise awareness.
The day is celebrated and supported globally by industry, governments, educational institutions, community groups, professional associations, women’s networks, charities and non-profit bodies, the media and more.
The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations in 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
In 2014, IWD was celebrated in more than a 100 countries and is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. www.iwd.uchicago.edu/.
Let us acknowledge and support the struggles of working-class and oppressed women around the world for justice, equality and liberation. One of the most powerful ways you can influence how quickly gender balance is achieved is by championing your own #BalanceforBetter campaign within your community, network, organization or group.
Why don’t women have access to equality, education and opportunity in all countries? How can women achieve gender equality with equal pay for equal work? Will men speak out for the rights of women everywhere?
Violence towards women and girls is being labeled as a global pandemic. The World Health Organization concluded that violence against women is a “global public health problem of epidemic proportions, requiring urgent action.”
Why do we celebrate the achievements of women when women are suffering and dying in the United States and in other countries? Because we must persist.
The British medical journal The Lancet (2014) released a series on Violence Against Women and Girls, calling on governments to respond to violence against women. The Lancet urges funding of programs that challenge male control over women; that reduce levels of childhood exposures to violence; that reform discriminatory family laws; that strengthen women’s economic and legal rights; and that eliminate gender inequalities in access to employment and secondary education. www.thelancet.com/.
“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t,” proclaimed Audre Lorde.
“Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there’s still more to be achieved.” — Visit www.internationalwomensday.com. The International Women’s Day website is the go-to hub for everything IWD and provides detailed information, guidance and resources.
Like American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream. King declared “—one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” My dream is that every country around the globe would recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day by declaring that females should be treated with respect, dignity, and kindness by males. And if that happened there would be an end to domestic violence, sexual assault, and war rape.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years. How will you celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday March 8 in your home, school, workplace, community, county and country?
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.