Women: They are half of the world’s population, make up 42% of global internet users and control $14 trillion in assets. They also do two-thirds of the world’s work yet receive only 10% of the income. They are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. In many parts of the world, they lack basic economic, social, cultural, and political rights.

This Sunday, March 8th is International Womens Day (IWD). It is an international celebration marking the achievements of women and their importance to our future.

The IWD website posts:

“IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. 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.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.”

Visit the International Womens Day (IWD) website to find an event in your community. Better yet, volunteer with an organization that supports women and girls. Keep up to date on issues affecting women around the globe and inform others. Post links to news stories on your Facebook or MySpace page, etc. Contact your government representatives to voice your opinions and learn more about legislation that affects women and girls. Finally, as authored on the IWD site, “Make every day International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.”

Statistics from IWD website: www.internationalwomensday.com.

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