International Women’s Day 2010

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 6, 2010 at 2:56 PM Health In Focus
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International Women's Day is celebrated worldwide on 8th March 2010. We have come a long way since 8th March 1975, when the United Nations recognized this day as International Women's Day and dedicated it to the progress of women worldwide.  The theme for 2010 is "Equal rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All", strives to end the discrimination against women and ensure equal participation.  This day reminds us not only of all the accomplishments of women, but also of the abundant, yet untapped potential of the fair sex, which if steered in the right direction, can impact the lives of the coming generations.

Haunting Statistics

• Three quarters of the poorest in the world are women; one third is without a roof over their head.

• Women form an estimated two-thirds of the global illiterate population of 800 million adults.

• One out of three women runs the risk of being beaten, forced to have sex, and suffer some form of abuse in their lives.

• The commercial flesh trade has an estimated 2 million girls from 5-15 age group entering the fray annually.

• Domestic violence is the numero uno killer in the developing countries and far more potent than destruction due to illness, accident, or war.

• Nearly 50% of women have been snuffed out by the 'killer instincts' of either their boyfriends, present or former husbands.

• Complications during pregnancy claim a woman's life every minute.

• Of those out of school in India, 90% are girls.

The Journey...

The women of today do enjoy a great deal of independence. They have access to education, are more aware of their rights as compared to women in the earlier generations. This is due to the incessant efforts of the UN and several organizations at the national and International level working for the empowerment of women.

More numbers of women are in charge of their lives, making a choice of how they want to lead it. They are educating themselves and entering professional careers giving equal competition to men in all fields - political, corporate, service and academic. Yet, Charlotte Whitton's statement 'Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good' still holds water!   

 'UN'ited Efforts

In the run up to the International Women's Day (IWD) 2010 celebration, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon underlined the importance of fighting discrimination against women, most importantly standing up to gender stereotypes. He said, "Early and forced marriages, so-called honor killings, sexual abuse, and trafficking of young women and girls are disturbingly prevalent and, in some areas, on the rise. Whether looking through the lens of poverty, or in times of disaster, we see that women still bear the greatest burden. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, our goals—peace, security, sustainable development—stands in jeopardy."

Emphasizing the significance of working on the issue of violence against women, The Secretary-General said, "Last year the Security Council approved two strong resolutions on this issue and I have just named a special representative to mobilize the international community to address these crimes. My UNiTE to end violence against women campaign and the recently launched Network of Men Leaders are striving to expand our global advocacy efforts."

In full GEAR

The UN has been unflinching in its efforts for three decades to fulfill their objectives on women's human rights, gender equality and empowerment. On September 14, 2009 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution for the institution of a new gender equality entity, named GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture Reform Campaign). This is indeed a great step forward in addressing the inequalities to women in all spheres.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, women all over the world must put their best foot forward to use the opportunities available to them. They should educate themselves, make wise choices, become aware of their rights, as this is the only way forward. Woman! Take your life in your hands and Chart Your Destiny.

Source: Medindia

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