Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stronger Women towards a Peaceful Future: A Continuous Legacy of the International Women’s Day

2012 Theme: Connecting Girls,
Inspiring Futures
This is our moment! A time for us to celebrate, commit, and connect to create a future that can inspire a world that is harmoniously equal and at peace.

It’s 8th of March and it is again the time of year when women from all over the world unite as they celebrate International Women’s Day in different languages. IWD is a special and joyous occasion that commemorates all the amazing achievements and valuable contributions in political, economic, and social communities of women in the past, present, and the future.

Believe it or not, International Women’s Day began as a political feature by the Socialists back in 1909 from which it was quickly acknowledged in Eastern Europe and Russia. Even after it has lost its political purpose on these countries, this annual celebration still continued so that men could express and display their appreciation and love to their mothers, wives, and sisters making it quite similar to Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. As this occasion started to blend and become recognized by other powerful countries such as the United States, the political agenda behind this day became stronger especially when the United Nations stepped in and decided to support this special event along with its state members.

The First National Women’s Day

A little more than a century ago, IWD was first known as the National Women’s Day which was initially celebrated on February 28, 1909 after the declaration of the Socialists Party (of America). It was in 1910 when a German Socialist named Luise Zietz was struck on how important this celebration could be especially if the whole world was involved. It could be the perfect time to raise awareness for all women that they have rights and at the same time, remind the rest of the globe about the fact that everyone was equal. After proposing that it must be held annually and must be called International Woman’s Day to promote equality between sexes and the right to vote in political elections, 100 women representatives from 17 major countries have unanimously agreed that it was the right thing to do. The next year arrived and in March 18, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was officially celebrated by thousands of people across the globe including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and other European Countries. Although the United States continued to celebrate National Women’s Day every last Sunday of February, they hold the same advocacy which made both events one of the most controversial occasions in the world.

International Women's Day in Abye, Sudan

It was the first time that an official holiday has been marked to support and promote women’s rights through different protests against sexual discrimination especially in employment ventures, various programs to honor the martyrs particularly in the Paris Commune, and strong shout outs about suffrage. All of a sudden, women, with their pent up thoughts, finally became expressive and vocal about their opinions, causing a lot of old fashioned men to become mortified and get angry. But the voices were so loud and over the years, women at last, were seen in a new light, with men treating them with a different kind of respect that cause them to finally accept that everyone was equal in this world. And this was all because of this annual celebration that made many women stronger in the process.

IWD and Modern Countries

Today, over 25 countries consider this day as an official holiday. These are: Zambia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Moldova, Laos, , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Cambodia, Cuba, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Armenia, and for women only in China, Madagascar, and Nepal.
Similar to the American "Hallmark Hollidays", International Women's Day provides a chance for Cameroonian women to buy 5000 francs worth of brightly coloured fabric. They also get to drink in the bars, which isn't usually accepted in village
Other nations such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Chile do not see IWD as an official holiday but they nevertheless observe and celebrate this day almost religiously by giving gifts and flowers to their wives, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and colleagues.

2011 IWD: The Centennial Celebration

March 8, 2011 was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and various festivities were held from over a hundred countries to memorialize all the women and how they portray an important part on the economic and social successes in the globe. It was one of the biggest celebrations to date starting with the president of the United States proclaiming March to be the “Women’s History Month.” Obama declared that everyone must unite and remember all the achievements and astounding accomplishments that have been made by women in the past and that have molded the world today. It was also announced that the fight against violence and sexual abuse on women must never falter and must continue to go on to further keep these hideous things from happening or growing. Millions of schools from across the nations celebrated through different programs and demonstrations that featured the importance of this memorable day for everyone.

2012 International Women’s Day
Afghan Girls in Traditional Clothes

Empowering Women—End Hunger and Poverty” is this year’s United Nation’s theme for IWD to continuously educate women about their rights and worth particularly those who are indigent or living in rural areas. It is an occasion wherein people are encouraged to greet and honor women who have endlessly fought against poverty and hunger. Today is also a time for everyone to gather and help the mothers, wives, and sisters of soldiers and civilians who have died and have gone missing during combat in an ongoing war that has killed many brave men and women, fighting for their country. Finally, it is a time to teach your daughters to become a strong and honest individual that can keep the world balanced and harmonious in the future.

Whether or not you are living in a foreign country or have a friend or loved one working abroad, it would be a great idea to open your minds and hearts to different cultures to completely appreciate and enjoy the essence of this important occasion. One can easily understand the lifestyle of others by making an effort to learn their language so you can truly see the beauty of their womanly ways. So if you need professional assistance that can teach you how to interpret other languages through seamless translation services, it is highly advisable that you contact Day Translations, Inc. and World Interpreting, Inc.

So to all the women in the world, may you have a glorious International Women’s Day!

Photo Credits: 
Wikimedia Commons, rbairdpccam, Doddamalluraprameya(Back in Bengaluru) and NewsHour


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