“Gender equality and women’s
empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations
to achieve equal rights and dignity for all… But equality for women
and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and
girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals — peace,
security, sustainable development — stand in jeopardy.”
 – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Women’s Day
dates back
to 1908 when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City
demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. A year later,
the United States celebrated its first National Women’s Day. In 1910,
at the International Conference of Working Women, Clara Zetkin proposed
an international Day of Women, and it was unanimously approved. Since
then, women across the globe have been recognizing International Women’s
Day each year, and use it as an opportunity to celebrate women and to
coordinate efforts for women’s rights and participation in social,
political and economic progress. 

This year’s theme coined by the UN
is: “Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all.” 
As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof explained, “Women and
girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.”

As many individuals, families, businesses,
and organizations have seen, empowering women is one of the most effective
ways of lifting people out of poverty. Kristof explains, “With education
and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money
and support their countries as well as their families. They represent
perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty.” Many studies have shown that when women are
generating income, those funds are more likely to be used on family
needs, which leads to better health for the whole family. The Hunger
Project declared, “Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa.”

However, as we look around the world, we see
gender discrimination and violence taking place on every level.

We see that up to 70% of women experience
some form of violence in their lifetime. We see early and forced marriage,
so-called 'honor killings', high rates of maternal mortality, sexual
abuse, trafficking, and broader issues of equality and empowerment.
We choose not to stand by and watch this happen. Will you join us by
taking a stand for the women of this world?  

One Day’s Wages is proud to support
women around the globe through its partnerships. Currently, two of ODW’s
partners focus on providing opportunity and support to women. One of
these partnerships is
. ODW is raising
funds to provide HEAL Africa 250 Fresh Start Kits for women recovering
from gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fresh
Start Kits provide small-business training and skills, and provides
the equipment they need to go back to the village and begin to support
themselves. It may be a sewing machine, or money for small trade capital,
or a goat or small livestock. The woman is involved in all aspects of
the choices she makes for her future. 

  • Check out this listing of International
    Women’s Day events all around the world.
  • To learn more about women’s issues
    around the world, ODW recommends
    the Sky

    by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

– Nicole // ODW Intern

Photo: Int. Women's Day celebrated in Rumbek, Lakes State, Southern Sudan, 8 March 2010. The Women for Women International Sudan Chapter brings together hundreds of women on the Barnam Bridge to celebrate peace and equal rights for women across Southern Sudan. (source)