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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy International Women's Day

March is International Women’s Month and today is International Women’s Day. 

All around the world countries are celebrating the gains made by women in business, politics and education

The day, which originally began on February 28th, 1909 was  started as a campaign for better working conditions by women in New York. In those days, working conditions were so bad that many women got sick and died. The first official International Women's Day was held on February 28, 1909. No one knows for sure why the date changed to March 8, but this is the date when thousands of women started annual marches in New York’s streets.

This was also the time when women all over the world were beginning to fight for a wide number of women's rights - including the right to have the vote. 
The idea of an International Women's Day quickly spread around the world. The first 

international women’s conference took 
place in 1910, in Denmark. Since then, International Women's Day has spread around around the world.
Today it is an important day to highlight the economic, political and social contributions women have made to our world. Women can now be happier that things are moving in the right direction. In some countries, however, the day has become more of a day mixture of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day when men show their appreciation and love to all the women in their lives.  ( from Sean Banville) 
International Women's Day is an official holiday in many countries, including Algeria, China, Cuba, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, and Zambia.  Unfortunately, it is not an official holiday in Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia or New Zealand - countries where women seem to have made some of the biggest gains.
All across the world, men give flowers and other gifts to the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters, teachers, etc. In Portugal and Romania, women celebrate by having "women-only" dinners. International Women's Day in India, where people hold celebrations throughout the day. Indian men want to show how important women are to their society.
Although women around the world are becoming more powerful in entertainment,. business and politics, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki moon says those gains are not enough.

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In a statement today,  the U.N. chief warned that the world still has a long way to go before women and girls universally enjoy the same  basic rights and freedoms as men. The secretary-general said the disparity  is especially troubling for women and girls in rural areas, who make up about one quarter of the world's population. 

Gender Equality Progress 
  • Women make up over 40 per cent of the world's labour force.  
  • Primary educationr gaps  gaps have closed in almost all countries. Secondary education gaps are closing rapidly and have reversed in many countries (i.e. more girls are attending high school than boys).
  • Since 1980, women have been living longer than men. 
  • In many low and middle-income countries, females are more likely to die, relative to males than their counterparts in in rich countries. 
  • Women are more likely than men to do housework and child care work at home. 
  • For women in many low and middle-income countries, sizable gender gaps  remain including in productivity and salaries. 
  • In many countries, women, especially poor women, have less say over decisions and less control over household resources. Source: World Bank
The UN says that the almost half-billion women who work as small farmers or landless workers continue to rank at the bottom of all economic, social and political indicators indicators. Officials there say that if women had equal access to resources, agricultural production around the world would rise by 4 per cent. 

They also say that providing women in rural areas with equal access to resources would help make a major contribution the fight against hunger.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilolay, also urged governments to do more. She said the failure to recognize and take advantage of women's potential  is a global problem. 

In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama are presenting International Women of Courage Awards to women from 10 countries - including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Sudan and Colombia. The other winners are from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Turkey, and Brazil. ( taken from the Voice of America News)

Meanwhile, you may be in for some surprises if you go the CBC site to find out  How Canada's Women Rate Among the World's Best Places for Women. 
  • For example, Ruwanda  with 56.3 % of women in parliament, has the highest percentage of  women legislators in the world. Canada only stands at 44th in he world, with 24.8 % female members of parliament.
  •  Women still make 15 % less than men in developed countries, with Sweden earning about 80% of men's salaries. In Canada,  women on average make 65% of what men make. Still, compared to Saudi Arabia, where women make about 17% of what men make, developed countries are still far ahead of underdeveloped countries. 
  •  Finally, women in Japan are the ones who live the longest at an average of 87%. Canadians women have an average life expectancy of 83 years. 
 To learn more about women's rights, Women's Month and  International Women's Day visit some of the following links:

Let me know what you think.  I appreciate your comments.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for creating this page. It's very helpful!


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