International women’s day
International Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the struggle for women's rights.
The earliest Women's Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. On March 8, 1917, in the capital of Russian Empire, Petrograd, a demonstration of women textile workers began, covering the whole city. This was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. March 8 was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917. The day was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries. During International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March.
This 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.
The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.
Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN's efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. Two thirds of illiterate adults in the world are women. One in three women is subject to physical violence in the private sphere.
Inequality between men and women penalizes societies at all levels of development. The violence, injustice and stereotypes suffered by too many women in their personal or professional lives undermine society as a whole, and deprive of it considerable potential for creativity, strength and confidence in the future.
Women must exercise their freedoms and be able to make their own choices, control their own bodies and their own lives, and take part in the decisions that set the course of society, just as men do.
Women’s rights are human rights. Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.
2017 Theme for the day is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. The idea of this theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
The world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women. On one hand, we have globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, and on the other hand, the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts—all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment.
We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys. It also requires a determined focus on removing the discrimination women face on multiple and intersecting fronts over and above their gender: sexual orientation, disability, older age, and race.
This will take adjustments in parenting, curricula, educational settings, and channels for everyday stereotypes like TV, advertising and entertainment; it will take determined steps to protect young girls from harmful cultural practices like early marriage, and from all forms of violence. . Said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Quoted and edited: Negar Paidar