This Friday, March 8th is International Women’s Day.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation wishes all women and girls around the world a very Happy International Women’s Day!  This day has been designated for the observance of women worldwide, especially those who work toward creating a better world in which all humankind may live.

International Women’s Day was originally referred to as International Working Women’s Day.  It was intended to be a celebration to show appreciation, respect and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements.  As early as the year 1909, this day was celebrated in New York City.  In 1975, the Icelandic women’s strike made it effective in Iceland, and it helped pave the way for the election of the first woman President in the world, Iceland’s Vigdis Finnbogadottir.

More than a century since, the women in New York City have celebrated this day, and now women around the world will observe International Women’s Day in some form or fashion to celebrate what began long before any of them existed.  In some parts of the world on Friday, women will march, while some will meet in roundtable discussions and others will virtually come together in sisterhood solidarity.  In various parts of the world, women plan to hold programs and celebrate this special day set aside, just for women. 

This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter is befitting with the active and audible voice women have displayed so far in 2018.  Historically, women have always had to strive for progress.  Young women must understand that something as simple as casting a vote was not always a thing that women were allowed to do.  Women such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher and countless of women who have preceded today’s women would be proud to know that women are continuing to speak out and work toward equality and against injustices.  The rampant violation of women’s human rights in the world today in the 21st century is appalling. Saudi Arabian women were allowed to drive automobiles only a couple of years ago.  Approximately eight thousands girls a day in the world are genitally mutilated due to an aged old culture called female genital mutilation or female circumcision.  Statistics show that women and girls are more likely to become victims of human trafficking than are men.  While women have made great strides in empowering themselves toward progress, they are still a long way from where they should be.       

International Women’s Day was actually first celebrated on March 19, 1911.  As the years progressed, women around the world began to observe the day, especially in 1914 when Russian women and many other European women gathered in support against the war on March 8th.  By 1945, the day was celebrated in all socialist countries in Europe.  The United Nations decided to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, which was during the International Women’s Year.

The website for International Women’s Day states that the day is a time to reflect on the progress made, to celebrate the acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in history.  It also states that the day should be used as a call for change.  So as women around the world celebrate the social economic, cultural and political achievement of women, they must also remember the work that is still ahead.  They must focus on Planet 50-50 by 2030.  It is the U.N.’s agenda for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, which includes the hopeful end to female genital mutilation (FGM).  As women prepare to converge on the grounds of the United Nations in New York this month to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), the delegates will be addressing the practice of FGM.  This year for the CSW63, there will be a special photo exhibit in the U.N. lobby and murals of FGM on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

The number of women leaders in the world must be increased.  The minds of young girls must be captured at an early age, and emphasis must be made to them on the importance of education and leadership, most especially in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  It must be instilled in them that they can become whatever they aspire to be in life.  The future women leaders must understand that it takes vision, dreams, determination, dedication, passion, and perseverance.  If you are a young girl and you have a dream in your early years, it is your vision, and that vision could very well be your future.  Do not give up on that vision.  Instead, build on it with determination, never relenting.  And if you are an adult woman reading this article, please think about how you can make a difference in a girl’s life.

There are so many women who quietly work on behalf of the well-being and safety of women and girls; therefore Global Woman Newsletter celebrates all of such women around the world on Thursday.  If you are working on behalf of women and girls somewhere in the world, know that you are celebrated today and Friday by Global Woman Newsletter

As you celebrate on Friday, here are some statistics to ponder:

  • Only 22% of world parliamentarians or congress people are women 
  • Women earn 24% less than men worldwide
  • 35% of women worldwide have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives
  • More than 1 in 4 women in Washington, D.C. have experienced some form of sexual harassment on public transportation, as of 2016
  • At least 200 million women and girls worldwide, alive today have undergone female genital mutilation
  • Out of the 500 companies listed by Fortune magazine three 4 ago, only 25 women were CEOs.
  • Women account for 60% of all illiterate people worldwide
  • Women’s presence in the media is only at about 26%
  • Almost all developing countries have reached gender parity in primary schools
  • One in every three women is the victim of physical or sexual violence worldwide

Happy International Women’s Day!  #BalanceforBetter!

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