Tuesday, March 8, 2011

8 March 2011 - International Women's Day Edition


Folks, today is the 100th Annual International Women's Day. As you may or may not know, women's human rights issues are very near and dear to my heart. I hope you will check out some of the links and stories below and celebrate women with me today.

While some argue that women have gained many rights and are now on an even footing with men, the numbers tell a different tale (check out UNDP's Gender Inequality Index here). Despite the disparities in income, wealth, education, property ownership, opportunity, legal protections and basic respect as parents and homemakers, my focus is upon the great untapped resource of women globally, in the arts, sciences, economics, politics, journalism, legal arenas, big business, armed conflicts, peace negotiations, the home and as leaders in general in our societies. Our international culture can and must be improved by an increased presence of women in all of these sectors.


The most comprehensive list of events, not surprisingly may be found on the official website of IWD.

Cambodia = Boo! The government has unfortunately denied permission to the Cambodian Women's Movement Organization to hold a rally today.

Philippines = Valenzuela City is celebrating March as Women's Month by organizing a series of celebrations “to underscore women's role in society and to further promote their human rights.”

USA = The International Center for Research on Women is hosting an event this evening in Washington, DC bringing together “social pioneers for a conversation on breakthrough innovations poised to transform the trajectory of women's lives” and then presenting their annual “Champions of Change” award.

USA = The Tahirih Justice Center is also holding an event in Washington, DC tonight, to “celebrate the advances made over the last century, and to … fight to end global violence against women.”


UNWOMEN's online videos are all available here and they are awesome.

Judi Dench narrates and Daniel Craig acts in this 2 minute video for International Women's Day. Dame Dench reprises her role as M, and Craig his role as 007, as Dench discusses the various natures of women's current inequities in the UK.

Hillary Clinton's video message is available here.

Reese Witherspoon and AVON's message about violence against women is here.

The Russian take on IWD is online here.


WeAreEquals has posted a great interactive timeline of International Women's Day here.


THIS site is truly your best resource for everything IWD-related.

The Guardian newspaper has listed its Global Top 100 Women in Law, Top 100 Women in Politics, Top 100 Women Activists and Campaigners, and Top 100 Women in Writing and Academia.

The Daily Beast and Newsweek are honoring 150 Women Who Shake the World.

Author Murad H. Elsaidi has recently published this important article in the Muslim World Journal of Human Rights: “Human Rights and Islamic Law: A Legal Analysis Challenging the Husband's Authority to Punish 'Rebellious' Wives.”

This article in FastCompany magazine discusses how female farmers are and will remain an important force in fighting global food shortages.

A report on ways to reduce the risk of HIV for women is available here.


Mallika Dutt from Breakthrough's talk was my favorite. She said (and I am paraphrasing), “we are at a moment of crisis and opportunity; UNWOMEN provides us the opportunity to make a turning point into a tipping point, where 'women's issues' are taken seriously in politics … especially because we know that male politics have failed (look at all our wars and at the current Jasmine Revolution), so let us catalyze the power of the international women's movement and bring that power to the table … the table which is round, and respectful and forward-thinking."

I also really appreciated the words of Karima Bennoune, a professor of law at Rutgers, who said, “we need to maintain a vigorous championing of universality without exception because the daily struggles as human beings (against sexual assault, e.g.) are the most important; we must all be unapologetic supporters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in every situation.”

Sindi Medar-Gould from BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights also made some comments worth mentioning: “UNWOMEN must follow through on their international commitments; many nations sign the UN documents which support women's rights, but they never follow through; this is a deliberate political strategy because no one can be forced to implement the declarations they sign … UNWOMEN must look for and support gender-mainstreaming in very real ways, not just in ceremonial actions.”

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