November is a time for remembrance and so we wear poppies, lest we forget those brave souls who fought for the many freedoms we enjoy. However November is also a time for bringing awareness and positive action to the plight of those who suffer. And so it is that at this time, internationally, we act in support of the UN initiative of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, held annually from November 25 to December 10.
“Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” is the theme the United Nations chose this year for International Women’s Day on March 8.
The UN has determined that the implications of climate change are far more drastic in developing countries than in developed countries; and often it is women who bear the brunt of climate induced natural disasters, such as drought, floods and heat, as they desperately try to feed and protect their children.
Women have suffered from gender-based violence for countless generations and the situation is still rampant today. Reports from help lines and police reveal that it has worsened under pandemic conditions. Gender-based violence (GBV) comes in many forms, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse and sexual harassment. Reasons for the continuing abuse include society turning a blind eye to it; excusing it as a “women’s” issue; a tyranny of misogyny, threats, and power moves by perpetrators over women who feel, often rightly, that they are powerless; and a blaming culture that says it’s the victims’ fault. This “women’s” issue view is in our rhetoric and it is built into our institutions. It reflects society’s relatively rigid views of what it means to be masculine or feminine. In order to eliminate violence against women, we need to adjust our thinking on this problem.
For over 100 years, March 8, International Women’s Day, has served to celebrate the advancement of rights for women and girls and their achievements and successes, as well as being a call to continued action to address the still ongoing imbalance of gender equality in the home, educational institutions, workplace, and halls of power.
The theme assigned by the United Nations for 2021 is Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world, while that on the IWD website is Choose to Challenge. We can celebrate female leadership in the response to the pandemic, and
The idea of a day to promote women’s issues originated with the Socialist movement in the early 20th century in New York. In1910, the International Socialist Women’s Conference approved a proposal to designate March 8th as a day to honour working women and to promote equal rights and female suffrage. In 1917, the USSR instituted female suffrage and March 8th became a national holiday there. But, until the feminist movement formed in the 1960s, International Working Women’s Day, also known as International Women’s Day (IWD), was observed …