International Women’s DayMarch 07, 2008
The event we now call International Women’s Day began 95 years ago, a day promoting women’s rights and peace on a global level. Some great websites detail the turbulent times that gave birth to this movement and describe its history since then. Type “International Women’s Day” into any online search engine for a good read.
I’ve been fortunate in having visited more than 70 countries over the years, many times on business trips that allowed me to get to know people personally. While there is no doubt about the distinct differences between us, there are common threads. Do we have a place to call home, enough food for our family, and the chance to live the life of equality?
It didn’t take long for the women I met to develop a sense of community as we worked behind the scenes at a conference. From Papua New Guinea to Germany, Australia to China, once we settled around a home-cooked meal, we would share stories about the problems we faced as women and how we tried to find solutions. The similarities were striking, the sense of immediate bonding no matter our backgrounds — wonderful.
This year for International Women’s Day, why not ask your U.S. senators to support the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act (H.R. 2965/S. 2069)? This legislation would shape U.S. international assistance and trade policy to enhance women’s economic security. It would help impoverished women start businesses, promote women’s property rights, increase women’s access to employment, and improve the quality and working conditions of jobs dominated by women.
While I believe in celebrating women’s rights and peace, I wish we didn’t need to make a separate point of doing so. All women and men should already be living equally, in a peaceful environment. Since that’s not the case, at least we have organizations like AAUW, International Women’s Day, One Shared World, CARE, and many others who continue the diligent work of getting us there. What experiences in the international community made you aware of the power women can bring to issues of equality?