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Be Bold For Change

Int’l Women's Day 2017

 Int’l Women's Day 2017
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10th-Mar-2017       
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Sheikh Arif Bulbon :
International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements - from the political to the social - while calling for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognised each year
on March 8. Is is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together
governments, women’s organisations, corporations and charities.
The day is marked around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies,
networking events, conferences and marches. Last year, there was a Google Doodle marking the celebration featuring women and girls across the world who complete the sentence ‘One day I will,’ talking about their dreams and ambitions. It's difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding
voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on February 28, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin - leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany - tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women
on one day every year to push for their demands.
A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her
suggestion and IWD was formed. In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time
in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.
In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day was only recognised by the United Nations
in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.
The first IWD to be officially recognised was in 1911, so the centenary
was celebrated in 2011. This year is the 106th.
In 2011, former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March
to be Women’s History Month.’
The original aim - to achieve full gender equality for women the world - has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that
globally, women's education, health and violence towards women is
still worse than that of men.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. On International Women’s Day, women across the world come together
to force the world to recognise these inequalities - while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is ‘Be Bold For Change’ encouraging people to step up and take groundbreaking action to help drive gender equality. It’s an active message that is likely to resonate with the millions of women, girls and men
who have taken to the streets to march this year, in opposition to divisive politics.  
There are many ways you can take part in IWD.
1) Make a pledge for parity
This involves going to the IWD website and pledging to help women
and girls achieve their ambitions; call for gender-balanced leadership
and create flexible cultures.
2) Join one of the many events happening around the world
The IWD website shows where events are happening in countries and towns. For instance, there are major festivals taking place - including the global
‘He For She Arts Week,’ run by UN Women as part of Emma Watson’s
gender inclusivity campaign.
3) Host your own event
It's still not too late. IWD encourages people to host a prominent speaker
and create an event of their own.
4) Go to Southbank’s Women of the World festival
This takes place in London from March 6 to 13  to celebrate IWD with a series of events.  Countries celebrate it in different ways. It is an official holiday in a number of places including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
Other countries like Bangladesh celebrate it in a similar way to Mother’s Day with men presenting their wives, girlfriends, mothers and female
friends with flowers and gifts. n

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