What’s International Women’s Day and why is it important? | Human Rights News


March 8 is Worldwide Girls’s Day.

Girls the world over use today to come back collectively to rejoice and rally for equal treatment and illustration.

Here’s what we find out about this yr’s celebration:

What’s the theme for Worldwide Girls’s Day 2023?

The UN’s theme this yr is “DigitALL: Innovation and expertise for gender equality”.

The subject highlights not solely how expertise is essential to advancing rights, however a rising digital gender hole that’s impacting every little thing from job alternatives for ladies and their security on-line.

Based on the UN, 259 million fewer girls have entry to the web than males, and girls are largely underrepresented in science, expertise, engineering and arithmetic professions.

“Bringing girls into expertise ends in extra artistic options and has higher potential for improvements that meet girls’s wants and promote gender equality,” says the UN. “Their lack of inclusion, against this, comes with large prices.”

Earlier UN themes have included local weather change, rural girls and HIV/AIDS.

How did the Worldwide Girls’s Day celebrations begin?

The predecessor of Worldwide Girls’s Day, previously known as National Women’s Day, was first noticed in the US on February 28, 1909, on the suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel.

The concept of a world girls’s day was recommended in 1910 throughout an Worldwide Socialist Girls’s Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It was throughout this convention that Clara Zetkin, a German communist activist, common suffragist and advocate of ladies’s rights, proposed the concept there be a delegated day for ladies in every single place to “press for his or her calls for”. Her concept was met with unanimous approval from all the ladies current, representing 17 nations.

Worldwide Girls’s Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911, following the settlement on the Copenhagen convention.

Russia celebrated its first Worldwide Girls’s Day two years afterward the final Sunday of February – February 23, 1913.

Why is Worldwide Girls’s Day vital?

Whereas the UN’s theme this yr underscores how the battle for gender equality has developed within the twenty first century, celebrations all over the world are additionally targeted on longstanding points, together with poverty and violence.

A 2021 World Well being Group report discovered that just about one in three girls worldwide is subjected to bodily or sexual violence throughout her lifetime, a difficulty that ties in with girls’s financial alternatives, entry to intercourse training and reproductive rights.

The date is a chance to boost consciousness of rights gaps, and organisers additionally use the day to rejoice progress and the achievements of particular person girls.

Tara Cookson, Canada analysis chair in gender, improvement and world public coverage on the College of British Columbia Faculty of Public Coverage and World Affairs, stated this date works as an “advocate instrument”.

“It’s one of many methods wherein folks kind of generate momentum,” Cookson advised Al Jazeera.

“It offers us a second to cease and replicate and study one thing new, and perhaps carve out quarter-hour, or half an hour, to take some motion,” she added.

Cookson additionally highlighted the relevance of constructing the date “political”.

“This may be achieved by supporting an organisation or a member of presidency who’s preventing for some aspect of ladies’s human rights, whether or not that’s to institute reasonably priced high quality childcare or elder care, or it may very well be one other concern that’s vital to you or vital to your group,” she added.

How are girls marking this date?

Cities the world over are internet hosting marches, rallies and demonstrations, together with Madrid, the place broad tree-lined boulevards are commonly filled with a sea of purple, a color typically related to girls’s rights.

In Thailand and Indonesia, a number of dozen girls gathered in entrance of the nation’s parliament to induce lawmakers to cross a long-awaited invoice to guard home staff. Some chanted “lengthy dwell Indonesian girls”.

In Sri Lanka, girls additionally protested towards the nation’s financial disaster.

There are numerous causes to protest: In Afghanistan, the Taliban has banned women from attending universities, Iran has repressed protests against the death of Mahsa Amini, new US restrictions on abortion rights and the Ukraine battle’s impression on girls.

World progress on girls’s rights is “vanishing earlier than our eyes”, based on UN chief Antonio Guterres who stated gender equality would take one other three centuries to attain.

“Girls’s rights are being abused, threatened, and violated all over the world,” he added, pointing to Afghanistan, the place “girls and ladies have been erased from public life”.

Policewoman stand guard as anti-government demonstrators participate in a protest organised by the Girls for Rights group on the event of Worldwide Girls’s Day towards proposed tax reforms and the nation’s financial disaster, close to the parliament constructing in Colombo [AFP]

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