International Women's Day aims toward authority for women

Today is the 100th observance of International Women's Day. What the heck does that mean?

The celebration began as an offshoot of increased labor unrest in the early 20th century. Today, the day is more associated with recognizing and acknowledging the contributions women have made. 

In 1909, the Socialist Party of America established National Women's Day. The Day went international in 1911, with rallies in Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. But in the U.S., because of the celebration's ties to the Socialist party, the day wasn't acknowledged again after 1913 until 1975, when the United Nations sanctioned International Women's Day.

These days, stories about women and girls tend to get so little mainstream media coverage that it's all too easy to remain blissfully unaware of their status. On this day, however, the world stops to consider the condition of its women, and to celebrate them, as well as their accomplishments. 

It's also a time to remind us of the enormous inequities that remain to be addressed. In many places in this world, women continue to lack economic opportunity and adequate health care, as well as education. They are often pushed in to early marriage and suffer sexual violence, as well as many forms of oppression and discrimination.

Women have made contributions in every area of society. Heck, without women, there would be no society. So today, sit up and take notice. Pay homage to the women in your life, and the contributions they've made.  

As Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her work to bring peace to Northern Ireland and founder of World Centers of Compassion for Children International, said: "Women will transform the world. The world will not change without us doing it, and I see it everywhere I go. Nothing's going to change until the women have absolute authority. Not power – I hate that word, "power" – but the authority that they need. And they're aiming for it; they're working for it."

That's what this day is about. Happy International Women's Day.

Published Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10:56 AM by bulldog
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