International Women's Day- 100 years on

8th March, 1911 marked the beginning of celebrating women, in all aspects; socially, economically and politically, in a global spectrum. In a time of rapid growth, and great industrialisation, both men and women marched to campaign for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. Indeed, in the last 100 years there is much to celebrate, from the rise of influential female politicians and some becoming Prime Ministers, to more women being educated to a higher standard  and earning as much as men.

But this day isn’t just about celebrating the ‘famous’ or the most ‘powerful’ women. It is about ALL women. Take a moment today and read the story of any woman, a mother, daughter, a sister, whose struggle is unheard, but very real nonetheless. It is women who live marginalised and oppressed, that need to be championed, their heroism ‘celebrated’.  

The women of Guanajuato, Mexico who are imprisoned for terminating pregnancies, the 15,000 women that will be sold into sexual slavery this year alone in China, the 6,000 women in North Africa who are suffer genital mutilation every day and the women all over the world, from our doorstep and beyond who face domestic violence on a daily basis, are all suffering right now. But who champions them?

The Uighur women are also such a community, whose voices remain unheard as they continue to be subjected to a form of forced marriage known as ‘Ala Kachuu’. A once romantic Kyrgyz tradition has been, like the freedom of Uighur women, mutilated with great costs. Once the ‘brides’ have been taken by the men, the women have no choice but to marry, ostracised if they do not accept. With many marriages resulting if domestic violence, repeated rape and eventually broken families, with the women unable to return home and live their life freely.

‘’Violence against women takes a devastating toll on women’s lives, on their families and society as whole. Most societies prohibit such violence- yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned’.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Article 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." It seems so simple in words. Discrimination and abuse is all around us and the struggle to gain equality is continuing effort and one that cannot lose momentum. Too often, subjugation against women is an un-discussed subject, an act of inhumanity that stays behind closed doors in the private domain. Let it not continue to be this. Nationally and internationally, speak up for your fellow woman, you fellow man, your fellow human. Do not let them suffer in silence, fearing no other option but to live fearfully and alone.

Celebrate the women around you, be thankful for women’s progress, but always keep striving for equal change for ALL.

Love, Light and Lollipops to Women’s progress! ♥

Comments

Rahima Begum

Thank you for sharing a positive angle to international women's day. Its often seen these days as regressive to need a day to celebrate women and their efforts etc, but people forget the void which still exists when it comes to equality for both sexes. And for this reason, be it a day or a decade, to pause and consider the development women have made to mark a space for themselves in an imbalanced patriarchal society is something worth celebrating.

Thank you Nadia for your words

08 March 2011 delete