March Round Up – IWD

High time women are kept safe from violence say groups in Malaysia
It is time for men to stand up to men, and the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is not talking about fist fights here. Rather, it is against men who batter their wives, says WAO executive director Ivy Josiah. “I’m inspired by the ‘Ring The Bell’ campaign organised by Breakthrough (a human rights organisation) in India,” said Josiah. The ongoing campaign in India calls on men to take a stand against domestic violence, ring the bell and intervene in situations of abuse. Continues at

Equal Rights Still Elusive for European Women
Many European women are still discriminated againstWhile women are increasingly reaching key positions in the world of European politics and business, they are still massively underrepresented and facing an uphill battle for recognition and equal pay. “Still today in governments and parliaments, less than a quarter of members are women,” said Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish vice-president of the European Commission ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8. Continues at,,4080969,00.html

Leaders Call for Women’s Advancement on International Women’s Day
A celebration of International Women’s Day took place in Liberia this weekend, with a number of the world’s key women leaders present. Among many others, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet were present, according to Radio Netherlands. Continues at

Africa: International Women’s Day 2009
International Women’s Day celebrates its 99th birthday in 2009, while the Modern Commonwealth celebrates its 60th. Yet Women’s Day on 8th March and Commonwealth Day on 9th March honour the themes of time immemorial, and both are intrinsically linked The Commonwealth is an organisation of values, forging collective responses to collective challenges, while paying special attention to the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people and places. And women are among the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable constituents: fully two-thirds of those of its children out of primary school, its citizens living below the poverty line, its HIV sufferers, its disenfranchised people, are women. The mathematics confront us with the stark fact that half of the world’s people bear considerably more than half of its problems. Continues at

Iraqi women in the grip of ‘silent emergency’ despite security gains, warns Oxfam
Iraqi women are suffering a ‘silent emergency’, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country, according to a survey of 1,700 women in Iraq released today by international aid agency Oxfam. The survey report, “In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges” is being released on International Women’s Day to highlight the daily hardships women are facing as a result of years of conflict. Continues at

“It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern conflict”
Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, 2008, former UN Peacekeeping Operation commander in DR Congo. Aid agency CARE International is calling on policy-makers to put victims before bureaucracy in the battle against rape in countries hit by conflict. On International Women’s Day, the charity is highlighting the chasm between policy rhetoric and the real needs of victims of sexual violence during and after conflict. Continues at

Eritrea celebrates women teachers as role models for girl students
Each year on International Women’s Day, 8 March, the world pauses to celebrate women’s achievements. In the run-up to 8 March, here is the story of one effort to inspire girls with women teachers as role models. – The Hotel Embasoira in Asmara recently hosted an award ceremony for women teachers, organized by the Ministry of Education and supported by UNICEF. The event, a first of its kind in Eritrea, celebrated the work and long-term achievements of 12 educators. Continues at

Kosovo Feminists Reclaim Lost Meaning of Women’s Day
Women’s movement in Europe’s newest state says there should be more to March 8 than flowers, boxes of chocolate and face cream. As people around the world showered women with flowers and gifts to commemorate International Women’s Day, some women have decided to speak out against the meaning that has been increasingly imputed to this holiday in Kosovo. Criticising the recent emphasis on the day as an occasion for celebrating gifts of make-up, perfume chocolate and face cream, they want to see the original stress on female equality restored. “March 8 is a historical event when women used to come forward to protest against social injustice, discrimination, exploitation and women’s suffering,” Vjollca Krasniqi, a feminist sociologist at the University of Pristina, says. “But it’s been co-opted by the market and capitalist enterprises and become another Valentine’s Day-style celebration of femininity … a day to remember women as sexualized objects, which totally contradicts the original meaning.” Continues at

Sit ins look to highlight gender discrimination
Joining a flurry of global activity to mark International Women’s Day, women’s rights activists held a series of events in Lebanon aimed at increasing public awareness about gender discrimination. Some 50 people, including around 10 migrant domestic workers, gathered for a sit-in outside the Madina Beirut’s Hamra district to commemorate the UN-designated day, which is celebrated annually on March 8. Aiming to highlight the poor working conditions faced by some migrant laborers, members of the public held up banners like, “I haven’t left the house in one month” or “I haven’t spoken to my daughters in four months.” In addition to specific concerns over poor labor rights for migrant workers, the sit-in also highlighted problems faced by women worldwide such as domestic violence, sexual and psychological abuse and pay inequality. The second sit-in was followed up by a march along the Beirut seafront, organized by the Feminist Collective. The march sought to draw public attention to some of the challenges faced by Lebanese women. Continues at

Preventing violence against girls in Lebanon gets spotlight
World Vision gathered prominent media stakeholders, local and international non-governmental organisations and governmental organisations to debate on ways to prevent violence against girls last Tuesday. The roundtable, conducted in partnership with KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation and the Higher Council for Childhood, focused on: ‘Women and Men Working Together to Combat Violence against Girls’ – the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. Continues at

Numbers Of Decision Making Women Must Not Fall (Botswana)
Human Rights activist, Rhoda Sekgororoane has urged women in the country to lobby government to assist in coming up with mechanisms on how to ensure that numbers of women in positions of decision making does not plung to zero. Speaking on International Women’s Day in Bobonong, Sekgororoane said she believes it is high time Botswana had its own Helen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian President who is the first African female president. She indicated that the country needs hard working, brave and committed women in order to achieve this. “Government is also held accountable for failure to implement the 30 percent quota and the 50 percent SADC protocol. I believe democracy is not complete without the inclusion of women”. Continues at


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