International Women's Day

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March 8 is International Women’s Day; it is a celebration of social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It also is a call to encouraging gender parity or equality. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911 amid the struggle for suffrage, or the right to vote. And despite that we now consider it unfathomable not to have the right to vote, women had to demonstrate and fight to get the right.
            There have been many of improvements in women’s lives, but there is still much to do. We have different issues, such as a gender gap in leading roles in almost every type of work, from science to Hollywood. And sadly, money is not the worst issue. International Women’s Day does not belong to any one country or organization. It is celebrated globally from country to country, organization to organization that highlights issues within and calls for further advancement of women’s issues.
            For example, there are places where the human rights of women and girls are violated daily. Different countries around the world acknowledge women’s rights in their constitution, but domestic violence against women is a daily problem. Further, terminating pregnancies of female (not male) fetuses is commonplace. There are also countries in the midst civil wars, where soldiers use rape and sexual assault to intimidate and threaten communities regularly. In some countries, girls undergo genital mutilation around their fifteenth birthday, and now, some emigrants from these countries are finding ways to perform these type of surgeries to maintain their traditions in their new homelands.
            These are just some of the issues that International Women’s Day tries to raise awareness about and fight against. Since 1996, the United Nations has proposed an annual theme for the International Women’s Day; the first theme was “Celebrating the past, Planning for the future.” Every year they’ve tried to touch on topics related to the improvement of women’s lives. From rural living, poverty, hunger, violence, and peace. Now, they can promote their theme through different platforms and a Web site at http://www.internationalwomensday.com/. #Pressforprogress is the 2018 theme, and its main goal is to raise awareness and make people join the cause. Additionally, International Women’s Day can be celebrated in colors: purple symbolizes women; purple, green, and white symbolize women’s equality; and yellow symbolizes a new dawn associated with a second wave of feminism.
            International Women’s Day is about unity, advocacy, action, and celebration and takes many different forms in the cities and countries where it is held. Thus, we all have the power to make changes to improve women’s lives in our surroundings, and it starts in our daily lives. The way we treat little girls and women around us and how we let boys and men to treat them is an important first step. If we understand how valuable we are, as women then, we won’t let anyone else treat us or any other woman in a lesser way.

Claudia Gravier Frigo contributed to this blog.