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“The Journey of Women’s Rights”: UN Women Celebrates International Women’s Day [VIDEO]

“The Journey of Women’s Rights”: UN Women Celebrates International Women’s Day [VIDEO]

Consider this:

  • One hundred years ago, only two countries allowed women to vote. Today, that right is virtually universal and women have now been elected to lead governments on every continent.
  • Today two-thirds of countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence and the United Nations Security Council now recognizes sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war.
  • Almost two out of three illiterate adults are women.
  • Girls are still less likely to be in school than boys.
  • Every 90 seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or due to childbirth-related complications despite us having the knowledge and resources to make birth safe.
  • Across the world, women continue to earn less than men for the same work.
  • In many countries women have unequal access to land and inheritance rights.
  • Despite high-profile advances, women still make up only 19 percent of legislatures.
  • 8% of peace negotiators, and only 28 women are heads of state or government.

(Source: UN Women)

With all of this in mind, the United Nations launched its newest organization at the end of February: UN Women. UN Women is the UN’s most ambitious effort yet to tackle the issues surrounding gender equality. With former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the helm, UN Women has the potential to be a powerful source for change. On this 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, let’s hope UN Women can reach its goals.

As Bachelet said at the launch celebration:

The decision to establish UN Women reflects global concern with the slow pace of change. It is no longer acceptable to live in a world where young girls are taken out of school and forced into early marriage, where women’s employment opportunities are limited, and where the threat of gender-based violence is a daily reality — at home, in the street, at school and at work.

The neglect of women’s rights means the social and economic potential of half the population is underused. In order to tap this potential, we must open up spaces for women in political leadership, in science and technology, as trade and peace negotiators, and as heads of corporations.

A recent study found that Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of women on their boards were 53 percent more profitable than those with the fewest women board members.

Where women have access to secondary education, good jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are enhanced, and we see lower maternal mortality, improved child nutrition, greater food security and less risk of HIV and AIDS.

My own experience has taught me that there is no limit to what women can do — from those who support their families in the hardest of circumstances to those who become ministers of gender affairs, health, finance, foreign affairs — or heads of state.

Take a look at this video from UN Women called “The Journey of Women’s Rights: 1911-2011″:

For more Care2 coverage of International Women’s Day, click here

 

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Photo courtesy of din! via Flickr

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21 comments

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9:45PM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

thanks for the post.

4:05AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

What a beautiful picture of mum and daughter, and I wish all mothers and their families a very happy and peaceful life in every corner of this cruel world, who's lives are being destroyed by heads of Governments in every Country in the world. These are the dictators, who spend peoples taxs on illegal wars, when it should be spent on the poorest people in society, and build relations with one another. What grieves me is the fact that it all starts from the top down wards, in suppresing the real people who build their families "WOMEN" set them free I say and replace them with the "MEN" to run their Country's and very quickly you will see a big difference, because the ladies don't do deals on the Golf course and behind closed doors. It's the only way, but sady will never happen because they will see to that. Cheers to Womans Day. Mr Raymond Ashley, Liverpool England

10:32PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Nice pretty thoughts, while US GOP turns back the clocks.

10:24PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

That is the whole problem with paternalistic societies..
We were all born free that I know of, so why do we not have the same rights?
Organized religion has mainly contributed to this especially Judeo Christian religion with the stupid and invented story of Adam and Eve. Adam is so stupid he cannot resist temptation? Just like the ultra Orthodox women who have to shave their hair and wear a wig instead.. And what is the wig made of? The same with the Muslim religion which is related to the Jewish religion ironically, where the women have to cover themselves so the ignorant and uncontrolable men would not be tempted..
Us stupid beings supposedly made by a perfect entity are warped beyond belief and make absolutely no sence.If you go by the religious beliefs, we were also created by the most perfect infallible entity and why should we hide our beauty, our faces? Should we not display it as an ode to the so-called perfect Creator?
Without women, there is no HUMAN LIFE OF THIS GODFORSAKEN PLANET.

4:18PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

I live in a country (USA) that didn't pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s! We haven't come that far, baby!

2:55PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Shout Out and Thank You To ALL Women!
International Women’s Day is a major day of global celebration of women to express respect, appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements. March is a celebration of National Women’s History month. http://bit.ly/gurG2k

Also, congratulations to Secretary Clinton and her colleagues on the launch of their important “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges”. http://1.usa.gov/eQpWpA

While we are excited about the yearnings of democracy abroad, we must be vigilant that our own policies are driven from a set of core values that also include equality for women in all areas in the USA, especially regarding equal pay for equal work. 

For any of these birthing democracies to truly take hold abroad, many believe a major transformational movement can't grow without the full participation of women and equal treatment in social and economic areas.

Empowering women and girls through international exchanges will foster a common bond that can only move us all closer toward the fullness of what democracy promises for all people. Good luck with this grand initiative!
Warmest Regards, Edward Colozzi.

11:38AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

What is this about how men treat THEIR women. Women do not belong to men! Yes their is a long way to go in some countries of the world, but men need to realize that women belong to themselves. The world also belongs to women just as much and actually more so than the men, remember there are usually a percentage or two more of us. I also think that the characteristics that have been assigned to "femininity" such as communication, cooperation, compassion, caring and nurturing of others are all needed more to day than ever. Boys are not doing as well in school in Western countries and we are living more and more in an information, knowledge economy. Try to teach some of those skills to your sons so they will do well in the world also. women are gradually coming into their own and for the shape the world is in its not a minute too soon.

10:26AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

I challenge all men to recognize women as equals. Many men need to check their fragile egos and stop trying to control every aspect of womens lives - try supporting them instead!

Women in most countries are the ones who hold families together, bear the brunt of most "domestic duties" all the while being treated as inferior, property or worse than the family dog.

The myth of male superiority needs to evolve into a recognition that women around the world posses levels of mental strength and physical resolve far superior to many men...they need it to put up with the relentless efforts to subjugate them on a daily basis.

Things have improved for women globally but we have a long way to go - for any men reading this, if you can't recognize the strength and contributions women make and treat them as equals (think of your mothers) then I would say you are just frightened little boys who need to do some work on yourselves.

I tip my hat to all the women who continue to persevere in the face of male domination - may you all be recognized for your individual greatness and received as equals wherever you are.

10:25AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

I challenge all men to recognize women as equals. Many men need to check their fragile egos and stop trying to control every aspect of womens lives - try supporting them instead!

Women in most countries are the ones who hold families together, bear the brunt of most "domestic duties" all the while being treated as inferior, property or worse than the family dog.

The myth of male superiority needs to evolve into a recognition that women around the world posses levels of mental strength and physical resolve far superior to many men...they need it to put up with the relentless efforts to subjugate them on a daily basis.

Things have improved for women globally but we have a long way to go - for any men reading this, if you can't recognize the strength and contributions women make and treat them as equals (think of your mothers) then I would say you are just frightened little boys who need to do some work on yourselves.

I tip my hat to all the women who continue to persevere in the face of male domination - may you all be recognized for your individual greatness and received as equals wherever you are.

10:09AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

UN Women, it's nice to see that you are all celebrating, but do you think the women of Saudi Arabia are celebrating along with you? NO they are not. Americans treat their pets better than Saudi Arabia treats their women.Women in Saudi Arabia are nothing more than slaves who are abused every day of their lives. Free those abused women and then you have the right to celebrate. They need you NOW....not tomorrow.

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