March 5, 2009
By Rady Ananda
The theme for 2009 International Women’s Day is ‘Unite to End Violence against Women and Girls.’ Across the globe, organizations publicize, protest, raise funds, and act to end violence against women. Currently, 884 events have been planned in 58 countries.
Women’s Watch reports: “In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.”
Begun last year, the UN campaign to end violence against women and girls runs through 2015. Ban Ki-moon’s full statement includes these remarks:
“We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women’s equality and empowerment…. In some countries, as many as one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Women and girls are also systematically and deliberately subject to rape and sexual violence in war.”
Organizations across the globe will address these issues this month. An international colloquium coinciding with International Women’s Day “will bring together 1,000 women participants and their champions: heads of state and government, public and private sectors, and community leaders. The conference, co-convened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Tarja Halonen of Finland, seeks to create an environment for women from around the world to discuss, learn, demonstrate, and act on the lessons learned from women in leadership, peace, and security.”
The community of men contributing to the defense and celebration of women includes the White Ribbon Campaign and V-Day’s V-Men, as well as Peter Gabriel in his 1990 joint release of Shakin’ the Tree with Youssour Ndour:
Eve Ensler and V-Day.org have been working for ten years to stop systemic femicide. The V-Men column is a series of stories and writings on violence against women and girls from the perspective of fathers, brothers and sons. Meryl Ann Butler wrote about the Los Angeles tour stop of Turning Pain to Power. Including an interview with Eve Ensler, Marianne Schnall also covers the tour. My own video report of the Atlanta tour stop has now been posted.
White Ribbon is holding an international symposium on “Engaging Boys and Men in Achieving Gender Equality” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 30th thru April 3rd. Based in Canada, the group boasts at least 47 nations involved.
In India, where women are beaten for dressing outside the prescribed norms of various religious sects, a group began the Pink Chaddi Campaign (pink panties). A protest will be held in Bangladesh on March 7th and 8th. “To counter the thuggery, Bangalore-based Alternative Law Forum (ALF) has launched a satirical campaign titled “A Consortium of Pubgoing Loose and Forward Women,” reports Osocio.