Population Matters

International Women’s Day 2010

March 8th, 2010

Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8, and today marks the 99th observance, but Nicholas Kristof wrote a column last week in the New York Times that reminds me how far we still have to go.  He wrote about a 10-year old girl from Yemen named Nujood, who asked for a divorce from her 30-year old husband, a controversial decision in a “society where it’s the men who give the orders, and the women who follow them.” Her inspiring story, which was published in a book entitled I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, encouraged other young girls to do the same and speak out against child marriage.  But Nujood’s story is also a reminder that, despite the progress that has been made since the first International Women’s Day, women around the world continue to struggle against oppression.

The first International Women’s Day was launched in 1911, and was proposed by a woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) so that women all over the world could push for their demands.  The first International Women’s Day was very successful, with over one million men and women attending rallies campaigning to end discrimination and to give women the right to work, vote, and be elected to public office.

In 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and is considered a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

There are many different themes depending on the country or group, the United Nations theme for 2010 is: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all.  As part of this year’s observance, the UN is presently hosting a conference on the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.  You can read more about this in our last blog entry, “Beijing +15 Moving Beyond Rhetoric.”

Please share your International Women’s Day stories with us.  Tell us what are you doing to help women around the world.

Posted by Emily Pontarelli, Program Associate

One Response to “International Women’s Day 2010”

  1. Child Marriage in Yemen-- Population Matters Says:

    […] March 8, I wrote a blog entry referencing a Nicholas Kristof column in the New York Times about Nujood, a 10-year old girl from […]

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