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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy International Women's Day 2007

Today is International Women's Day. So here's a cheer for all the women. *CHEER!*

International Women's Day was first officially celebrated by the United Nations on March 8, 1975. The date was chosen to commemorate a protest by the women workers of a clothing factory in New York against low wagers and dismal working conditions. On March 8, 1908, fifteen thousand women marched in New York City to demand more pay, better working conditions, and the right to vote. The protesters were attacked by the police, but a few years later they created created the first women's labor union.

The socialist party of America first observed IWD in 1909. The first International Women's Conference was held in Denmark in 1910, and International Women's Day was commemorated in Western Europe in the following years. In 1917 Russia, women protesters demonstrated during the first stages of the Russian Revolution. Lenin made International Women's Day official, but it wasn't made a non-working holiday until May 8, 1965.

Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls

According to the United Nations, International Women's Day is "a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities." It is also a time to take stock of the abuses and oppression of women around the world; legal, economical, physical, psychological and, perhaps most egregiously, spiritual. Those of us living in countries where the position of women has come a long way, often forget there are women less fortunate; women, whose governments and societies condone (or at least turn a blind eye to) physical abuse, rape, slavery, and female genital mutilation, not to even mention systematically lower wages, lack of a right to vote, and the inability to have any say over their bodies, persons, or dreams.

While we may feel that we personally can do little, there are several organizations we can assist with either time or money — at the least, we can spread the word. We can celebrate the brave women who came before us, who sacrificed much to make sure that women after them would have an easier path. We should also celebrate the women in our own lives, who make us who we are; our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and friends. Let's tell them how much we appreciate them and say, even to the strangers on the street, "Happy Women's Day."

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Blogger SzélsőFa said...

I've already heard about 'FGM' - what a short name for a horror that only starts with the procedure... I knew about it and I thought I was well informed...Until I read the link..the most schocking fact was that quote* It is estimated that each year, a further 2 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM.*quote ends.
Anyway, me and my family do NOT celebrate IWD, but it is celebrated all over in Hungary. In schools, kindergartens, every working place, etc.etc.

March 09, 2007 5:12 AM  
Blogger Anniina said...

I think I only heard about FGM for the first time ten years ago when I read Alice Walker's book Possessing the Secret of Joy — and I couldn't believe such barbarism still exists, and further, that it is not widely known about or discussed. The numbers, as you said, are also horrifying: one would be too many. And I can't help but think that if the statistics read that 2 million boys were having their peepees chopped off every year, something would actually get done to stop it....

March 09, 2007 9:12 AM  
Blogger SzélsőFa said...

What an interesting view. You might be right with that!

March 09, 2007 9:17 AM  

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