International Women’s Day – March the 8th


Laura Shamas suggested that this week’s blogger write something about International Women’s Day.  I didn’t know that there was one and went to Wikipedia (where else) to find out something about it.

The entry is complicated and long and not very well written and I’ll have to take more  time to understand the history of the Day, which started in the Soviet Union, and then spread to Eastern European countries and the rest of the world.

In dozens of countries, some of which observe the day as a holiday, women have used IWD to agitate for equal rights in every aspect of a woman’s life –  the right to vote, to hold public office, to end sexual exploitation and employment sex discrimination.  In the Soviet Union, it was also a day in which to thank women for their heroism and selflessness in World War II.

In 1977, the United Nations formally proclaimed March the 8th as International Women’s Day –  a day for women’s rights and world peace.

Shockingly, human trafficking is the second most profitable business enterprise in the world, just behind the Drug Trade and ahead of Arms Sales.  The U.N., which has given each year a slogan, perhaps acknowledging that, calls 2013 a year in which “A Promise is a Promise:  Time for Action to End Violence Against Women.”

Today, the day before IWD, is a good day for women in the U.S..  President Obama just signed a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been extended to cover Native Americans, Immigrants, and Gays.  The renewed law makes it easier to prosecute crimes against women in federal court, and provides such services as domestic abuse hotlines and shelters for battered women.

“All women deserve the right to live free from fear,” Obama said during a signing ceremony at the Interior Department. “That’s what today is about.”

A day for hope.

Violence Against Women Act

What if there was an International Men’s Day, I thought to myself?  Would that mean that we had achieved parity?  Turns out there is one.  Founded in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999, to encourage good role models, gender equality, and men’s health, it has now spread to 60 countries.

And that’s a good sign, too.

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