March 8th marks the UN Observance day for the International Women’s Day. This day commemorates the women and men who pro-actively debated, fought and even died for the equal rights of women.
About International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
The day serves to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is INSPIRING CHANGE.
For more information about upcoming events during International Women’s Day please visit the official website at: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/events.asp#.UxEC8_ldXYs.
Brief Timeline of Women’s Rights
In a world led by men and controlled mostly by men, women have been persecuted for their fight for equal rights as far back as the 1600s.
- 1600s: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651-1695): a Mexican poetess and nun fought through her writing for equal rights for women within the Catholic Church. (For more on ‘Sor Juana’ please click here)
1860s-1890s: African-American Sojourner Truth, is made famous by her poem “Ain’t I a woman?” (For more on Sojourner Truth, please click here)
1900s-1920s: The Rise of Feminism: Movements in the United States and Europe lead to equal voting rights, some working rights for single women and some property rights. (For the Rise of Feminism in the US, please click here)
- 1960s: The Women’s Liberation Movement is born. (Please click here for more information)
- 1960s: The Mirabal sisters oppose the regime of Rafael Trujillo in Dominican Republic. (Please click here for more information).
- 1960s-2000s: Women of all creeds become an important part of the Anti-War driving force, Civil Rights movement in the United States, and play a vitally important role in reproductive rights.
Women’s Rights Today
The fight for women’s rights across the world is far from over. Here are some examples of ongoing injustices that women face around the world:
– In cases of rape in many Middle Eastern nations- such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq- the national legal system puts the criminal blame on women for being raped by a man.
– In parts of India road safety rules do not apply to women;
– In Yemen, women are considered half witnesses in both civil and criminal law- in some cases they cannot be a witness at all- and cannot leave their home without being accompanied by their husband;
– In Saudi Arabia and Vatican City, women are not allowed to vote
(For more information about these case studies, please click here).
Even in the developed countries like the United States, France and England, women are still fighting for equal pay, equal representation in government, and equal respect from their male peers. As an example, in the United States, women makes on average 69 cents for every dollar a man makes in the same job position. The difference becomes worse when dividing women racially: While white women in the United States make 77 cents to each dollar a man makes, black women only make 69 cents to the dollar, and Hispanic women make 67 cents to the dollar.
Questions for the reader:
- What inequalities do you see in your country between men and women? Have you tried to do anything about these inequalities?
- How can both men and women work to solve gender inequality in your country?