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“Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”

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By EMN Updated: Mar 07, 2015 9:49 pm
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International Women’s Day 2015

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]nternational Woman’s Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.
The idea of having an International Women’s Day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. By urban legend, women from clothing and textile factories staged one such protest on 8th March 1857 in New York City.The garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages. The first IWD was observed on 28th February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. In 1910 the first International women’s conference was held in Copenhagen. The following year 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19. However, soon thereafter, on March 25, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8th March 1913. In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March. The official United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” The theme envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
International Women’s Day 2015 highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a globally endorsed framework towards advancing gender equality, human rights, and women’s empowerment. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern: Women and poverty, Education and training of women, Women and health, Violence against women, Women and armed conflict Women and the economy, Women in power and decision-making, Institutional mechanisms, Human rights of women, Women and the media, Women and the environment, The girl child.
Progress on the health-related recommendations from this framework has been uneven. Although maternal and child deaths have fallen since 1995, an unmet need still exists for family planning, gender-based violence is still a huge unaddressed problem, and deaths due to pregnancy-related causes still prevail, especially in developing countries and particularly among the poorest in society, who have no access to sexual and reproductive health services. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part.
Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, the Platform for Action strives to ensure that women and girls could exercise their freedom and realize their rights to live free from violence, make decisions and have unrestricted access to quality health care, including sexual and reproductive health-care services. During the past 20 years, the world has witnessed remarkable advances in promoting the human rights and dignity of women, and their full and equal participation in society. For the women of the world, the Day’s symbolism has a wider meaning: It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change. Much has been achieved since, but much more needs to be done and can be done for our world where gender equality is a reality: Picture it!

Family Planning Association of India (FPA India), Nagaland Branch
Daklane – Kohima

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By EMN Updated: Mar 07, 2015 9:49:22 pm