International Women’s Day marked across the globe with the theme ‘Let’s Make it Happen’
March 8: ‘Let’s Make it Happen,’ as The World celebrates International Women’s Day today, we are made to take a look at the problems women across the globe face, their accomplishments and the efforts they have made to make a difference in the lives of other women.
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s and was established by Socialist International, in their meeting in Copenhagen in 1910. The following year, the first International Women’s Day was observed in several countries, including Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany.
In 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights. The United states allotted the whole month of March as Women’s History Month. Countries like Cuba, Belarus, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Nepal have declared Women’s Day a national holiday. In China, the day is a holiday for only women.
Women’s rights has gained a lot of ground as a the political agenda in the last two decades. Many countries have made progress in their efforts to eliminate gender disparity in various sectors like primary education, and we have also seen the introduction of initiatives to ensure representation of women within senior political and corporate spheres.
But there’s still a long way to go. Despite the increasing recognition that gender equality is crucial to a nation’s social and economic development – as emphasized by the latest UN Women campaign, the myriad links and feedback loops between gender parity and development still needs to be fully explored. In particular, what does a fluctuating economy mean for women, their empowerment and welfare? And how does – or should – this affect economic policy decisions?
This is particularly important as the World moves towards defining the sustainable development goals and wider post-2015 development agenda. While the proposed inclusion of a standalone gender goal is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, the more important task will actually be ensuring its integration across all of the other SDGs.
According to a report, presented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to the United National Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), Women account for two-thirds of all working hours and produce half the World’s food, but earn only 10 percent of global income and own one percent of property. Though women make up half of the global population, they represent 70 percent of the World’s poor. Though women make up half the global population, they represent 70 percent of the World’s poor.
The report states that women and girls aged 15 to 44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than they are war, cancer, malaria and traffic accidents. At least one in three women around the World have been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in their lifetime.
Between 1.5 million and 3 million girls and women die each year because of gender-based violence and between 700,000 and 4 million girls and women are sold into prostitution each year.
Ninety-nine percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, where a woman dies of pregnancy-related cause every minute. Women account for nearly two-thirds of the World’s 780 million people who cannot read. The report also states that 41 million girls worldwide are still denied a primary education. And, globally, only one in five parliamentarians are women.
To mark this day, The Oslo Times has chosen 10 women for their contribution to the society through different sectors, who have persevered and become successful icons for thousands across the globe:
Lilani born in 1954 at Calcutta, India is founder and chair of a number of awards which attempt to recognize influential women and leaders: Asian Women of Achievement Awards; the Women of the Future Award; and, the Global Empowerment Award. She is an Indian cookery specialist, consultant and owner of Spice Magic Ltd.
She herself received an OBE in 2007 for her work to celebrate women’s achievements. She has been called one of Britain’s most entrepreneurial women.
Wai Wai Nu
Wai Nu is a former political prisoner. At the age of 18 she was arrested and sentenced to 17 years in prison, together with her mother, sister and brother, for supporting and promoting the idea of a democratic Myanmar. Her father was sentenced to a much longer term. In 2012, after seven years in prison, she was released under a presidential amnesty for political prisoners. Since being freed she has dedicated herself to promoting human rights and democracy in Myanmar.
Nazar born in 1953 is the first Pakistani female cartoonist. Her character Gogi is an urban Pakistani woman struggling with her frailties in the context of sexist social norms. She is the chief executive officer of Gogi Studios. Between 2002 and 2003, she was a Fulbright Professor at the art department of the University of Oregon.
Lesley Jane Yellowlees
Yellowlees, CBE, FRSE, born 1953, is a British inorganic chemist and was the first female president of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2012–14. Moving to Edinburgh at the age of 9, Yellowlees attended St Hilary’s Girls’ School. Her father (now deceased) worked for Rank Hovis McDougall, and she has two sisters. She completed her higher education at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a BSc in Chemical Physics in 1975, and PhD in Inorganic Electrochemistry in 1983. She was the only woman graduate in her undergraduate class.
Sow is a Guinean woman who founded ‘Make Every Woman Count’, an organization operated by a team of young women in Africa, America and Europe who use their passion and experience to promote rights and empowerment of women and girls. She is a campaigner for a peaceful and equitable World, a human rights and social justice advocate, and works to empower women and girls.
Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon
Sturgeon, born 19 July 1970, is the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and the Leader of the Scottish National Party. She is the first woman to hold either position. Sturgeon represents Glasgow Southside as its MSP.
A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, Sturgeon worked as a solicitor in Glasgow. She was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and served successively as the SNP’s shadow minister for education, health and justice. In 2004, she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney. However, she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, standing instead as depute leader on a joint ticket with Salmond.
Luintel is a prominent, award winning, nationally acclaimed journalist and women’s rights advocate. Over the last decade, she has received a number of fellowships and honors for her communications work in the areas of gender, women’s rights and the empowerment of marginalized people. She started her radio career from Radio Sagarmatha in 1999, where she started radio’s first show on gender equality and women’s rights. After joining Equal Access Nepal in 2007, Jaya designed and executed several radio projects focusing on women’s empowerment, gender justice, health & nutrition, HIV /AIDS and violence against women, and she served as the Project Coordinator for the VOICES project radio Program Samajhdari (“Mutual Understanding”), which was recognized with the 2010 One World Media Special Award.
Nammi Kurdish women’s rights campaigner against “honour” killing has been battling for women’s rights since she was a teenager growing up in Iran. A former Peshmerga fighter who came to the UK in 1996, she has been instrumental in the campaign to bring honor killers to justice in British courts as well as striving to get forced marriages banned in this country.
Currently, Maiti Nepal operates a rehabilitation home in Kathmandu, as well as transit homes at the Indo-Nepal border towns, preventive homes in the countryside, and an academy in Kathmandu. As the name suggests, Maiti Nepal (“maiti” meaning “mother’s home” in Nepali) has been a refuge for women rescued from the brothels in India. The women can stay in the homes run by Maiti Nepal until they are able to return to their homes or if not accepted by their parents they may stay until they become able to live on their own. Between 1993 and 2011, she and her organization have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 women and girls.
Adnan recently won International Women of Courage Award for her services in recognition of her services for women’s rights. She belongs to picturesque Swat valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and remains a victim of child marriage. She got married at the age of 13, but after 20 years divorced her husband.
Later, she started her NGO named Khwendo Jirga, which in English means “Sister’s Council”. The NGO proved as platform for women who use to discuss domestic violence, giving women as compensation for crimes and other issues and sort out solution for these problems. No doubt, she faced a lot of hindrances and predicaments for spreading awareness among women for their rights in rigid Pakhtun society, where females are not allowed to get out of their houses. However, she did not give up and continued to work for women’s rights. Her tireless efforts brought fruit for her as she has been awarded the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award by US Department of State. The award recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.
The Oslo Times