Posted by Praveen Prasad, WAM NY Chair
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: In 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 honored the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.
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.
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.
2000+: 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.
While, gains have been made on women’s issues, women are still not paid equally as compared to their male counterparts, they are still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Lack of access to education, early marriage, maternal mortality and violence against women and girls remains issues that have hampered the realization of equality of women in all areas of work and life in many parts of the world.
As we celebrate the achievements of women, sustained advocacy and committed leadership is needed more than ever to ensure equality and equity for women in all corners of the world.
By Praveen Prasad, WAM NY Chair
“Every girl and woman should be able to live safely and free of violence. Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated” -- UN Women
From 4-15 of March 2013, the United Nations Headquarters in New York will be hosting the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). This year’s priority theme is the “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. The CSW forum will focus on two key areas: prevention of violence and the provision of support services/responses to survivors of violence. Held annually, CSW sessions bring together thousands of Government officials and representatives of the UN, civil society, media and the private sector. They meet to review progress, share experiences and good practices, analyze gaps and challenges and agree on priority actions to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality.
The United Nations estimates that up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes, and most of this violence takes place in intimate relationships. Not only is violence against women and girls a gross human rights violation, it has enormous social, economic and productivity costs for individuals, families, communities and societies.
Sustained advocacy by women’s organization and civil society groups on the issue of violence against women has helped bring attention to changes to the status of women globally. Much progress has happened over the last few decades. Today, there are international agreements and treaties specifically aimed at giving women and girls the respect, dignity, choices and freedom that every human being should enjoy. Important steps have been taken globally and locally to end violence against women. More than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence. However, over 600 million women live in countries where it is not considered a crime.
Much more needs to be done and with greater attention, advocacy and determined leadership it is possible to end this pandemic.
Posted by WAM NY Marketing Committee
WAM NY Marketing Committee.