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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

International Women's Day 2014, March 8

 Celebrated annually on 8 March, the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day is: “Equality for women is progress for all”.






Secretary-General Says in Message for Women’s Day ‘Equality Is Not a Dream,
 But a Duty of Governments, the United Nations, and Every Human Being’


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for International Women’s Day, 8 March:

This International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.

Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.  Companies with more women leaders perform better.  Peace agreements that include women are more durable.  Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.

The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.

This simple truth must be central as we work to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by next year’s deadline and craft an agenda for the years beyond 2015. 

Important gains have been made in access to primary education for girls and political representation by women.  But progress remains far too slow and uneven.

A baby girl born today will still face inequality and discrimination, no matter where her mother lives.  We have a common obligation to ensure her right to live free from the violence that affects one in three women globally; to earn equal pay for equal work; to be free of the discrimination that prevents her from participating in the economy; to have an equal say in the decisions that affect her life; and to decide if and when she will have children, and how many she will have.

I have a message for every girl born today, and to every woman and girl on the planet: realizing human rights and equality is not a dream, it is a duty of Governments, the United Nations and every human being.

I also have a message for my fellow men and boys: play your part.  All of us benefit when women and girls — your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues — can reach their full potential.

Together, let us work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development.  Equality for women is progress for all!

Ban Ki-moon.



International Women's Day 2014 : The UN Refugee Agency

 Guterres said this year's theme "recognizes that we do not live in a world in which all women and girls are treated equally and without discrimination. As we all too often see in our daily work, forced displacement exacerbates the risks that women and girls face."
The High Commissioner also highlighted some important UNHCR programmes that will impact positively on the situation for displaced women and girls.


The World Bank Goup : International Women's Day 2014
 
H.E. Mr. Jim Yong Kim's of the The World Bank Group


On February 27, a high-level regional workshop kicked off in Lomé, Togo, with the participation of Ministers of gender affairs and officials from 11 economies from West and Central Africa focusing on the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law 2014: Removing Restrictions to Enhance Gender Equality report. A welcome dinner prior to the official opening of the event revealed the dynamic nature of gender affairs Ministers – all women – and the common realities and issues facing their nations. Most were meeting for the first time in a unique experience that enabled sharing stories and views about laws, cultural norms and traditional roles within the family in prelude to the official discussions.



International Labour Organization (ILO) : International Women’s Day 2014.
"Women at work – where we are, where we want to be"


To mark International Women’s Day 2014, the ILO reflects on the progress that has been made and what still needs to be done to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Follow two women, an Indian CEO and a US school teacher, whose experiences shed an interesting light on the common challenges facing women across the globe.

United Nations Population Fund : Statements by UNFPA Executive Director General Babatunde Ostimehin.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin - See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/cache/offonce/home/news/pid/16834;jsessionid=DA3AB23FE7F4400950F4B5D035AFC416.jahia01#sthash.PaRxPiA8.dpuf
Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin - See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/cache/offonce/home/news/pid/16834;jsessionid=DA3AB23FE7F4400950F4B5D035AFC416.jahia01#sthash.PaRxPiA8.dpuf
As we commemorate International Women’s Day and celebrate the many achievements of women and girls, we should also remember that for far too many, the ability to live a healthy, productive life free from violence, to fully enjoy their rights, remains an aspiration.
 


International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

1908
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

1910
n 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.

1911
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events. 1911 also saw women's 'Bread and Roses' campaign.
1913-1914
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women's solidarity.

1917
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women's strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

1918 - 1999
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Women's organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women's advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now 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. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

GoogleAnnually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world 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.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.


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