INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Yet progress has slowed in many places across the world, so global action is needed to accelerate gender parity. Leaders across the world are pledging to take action as champions of gender parity – not only for International Women's Day but for every day.
Women’s 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 extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
In a message on this occasion, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. "Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination, and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.
More than 6000 representatives from 860 civil society organizations have registered for CSW58. Nearly 135 events have been organized by UN agencies at UN Headquarters in New York, alongside the official meetings of the Commission, as well as more than 300 parallel events hosted by the NGO community close to the UN premises.
During the ten-day meetings, the member States, UN entities, and accredited NGOs from around the world will take stock of progress and remaining challenges toward meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The MDGs have sought to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1); achieve universal primary education (Goal 2); promote gender equality and empower women (Goal 3); reduce child mortality (Goal 4); improve maternal health (Goal 5); combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (Goal 6); ensure environmental sustainability (Goal 7); and develop a global partnership for development (Goal 8). They include 21 targets with 60 indicators. [Semah Report]
National Women’s History Month
International Women's Day coincides with National Women's History Month being celebrated for the last 35 years. Every year the National Women’s History Project selects a unifying theme to be shared with all who want to promote women’s history. This year’s theme presents the opportunity to weave women’s stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history.
Accounts of the lives of individual women are critically important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do, NWHP says adding: “The stories of women’s lives, and the choices they made, encourage girls and young women to think larger and bolder, and give boys and men a fuller understanding of the female experience. Knowing women’s achievements challenges stereotypes and upends social assumptions about who women are and what women can accomplish today.”
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week." Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month." Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.
To borrow Women's History Expert Jone Johnson Lewis, the purpose of Women's History Month is to increase consciousness and knowledge of women's history: to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it's impossible to teach or learn history without remembering these contributions.
History helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power, and dreams are immediately diminished.