Today marks the one-week countdown to International Women’s Day!
International Women’s Day is important at Nellie’s because it offers us an opportunity to pause, reflect, and celebrate the great strides and achievements made by women, while renewing our efforts to continue to work for women’s equality, justice and peace.
The idea of having a Women’s Day began in the early 1900′s as a response to the rapid changes and deteriorating conditions that were occuring in women’s lives as a result of industrialization. The United States first recognized International Women’s Day in 1909, with Europe following a few years later. The United Nations officially marked the day in 1975, with Canada following shortly afterwards to recognize March 8th as International Women’s Day.
Here are some reasons why International Women’s Day remains important today:
1) Around the world a woman dies in childbirth or complications from childbirth every 90 seconds.
2) Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70% are women.
3) Of the world’s nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women
4) In most countries (including Canada) women work approximately twice the unpaid time (ie: childcare and housework) that men do.
5) An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women.
6) Each year an estimated two million girls suffer the practice of female genital mutilation.
7) Worldwide, 20-50% of women experience violence during marriage.
(Source: Women at a Glace, United Nations Report.)
Whether it’s speaking out about violence against women, demanding better access to pre and post-natal healthcare, encouraging more women to enter the political sphere and leadership roles, or educating young girls and boys about sexism, heterosexism, racism and other discriminatory behaviour, International Women’s Day presents an opportunity to start and continue the conversation about gender roles and gender equality.
Over the next 7 days we look forward to celebrating the achievements of women and joining with other women’s organizations in a committment to a future where everyone has a chance to thrive and prosper in peace and equality. Stay tuned tomorrow for information on International Women’s Day celebrations in the GTA.