International Women’s Day 2015 Theme:
MAKE IT HAPPEN
All around the world, International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.
Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for the internationalwomensday.com global hub, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.
Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
This Day aims to highlight the importance of creating conditions for the elimination of discrimination against women and for their full and equal participation in social development.
If these are some of the aims – we really need to look towards education in its boradest sense to make any headway. At present it seems we are just trying to catch up – to close the gender gap that exists. But what about looking to the future? Starting with parents who are just having children and already discriminating between the girl and boy child.Look at the toys that are on offer in the ‘Western’ world – there seems to be a stronger push towards pink for girls and blue for boys along with the difference between ‘home’ toys and guns and war toys. And when they start school – there is still an achievement gap in many countries between boys and girls and of course, if you poor and a girl, then the odds stack up against you. Even in the UK when I was teaching, parents of girls would often state, when their daughter had not done so well in maths, -‘leave that to the boys, they are better at maths!’ With that self fulfilling prophecy the boys tended to do better, but it was not just to do with innate ability -girls were not trying!
So on this International Women’s Day -think about the future of women and start with educating the youngest.
www.womendeliver.org – Each year, Women Deliver celebrates International Women’s Day by honoring people, organizations and innovations that are delivering for girls and women. This year, we are excited to celebrate 15 journalists from around the world who are advocating for and advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. More
How girl activists helped to ban child marriage in Malawi
Malawi has raised the legal marrying age from 15 to 18.
Malawi’s Stop Child Marriage campaign was launched in 2011 by the Girls Empowerment Network and Let Girls Lead on the principle of empowering girls to fight for their own rights. We trained over 200 girls in the Chiradzulo District of southern Malawi to become advocates. The girls lobbied 60 village chiefs to ratify and enact by-laws that protect adolescent girls from early marriage and harmful sexual initiation practices. These bylaws force men who marry girls under the age of 21 to give up their land in the village and pay a fee of seven goats, a major economic penalty in the region.
Overcoming deeply held cultural beliefs and traditions will not be easy, especially in outlying rural districts impenetrable by communications from the capital. Local, on the ground education campaigns will be key to disseminating information about the new law and building broad-based support for girls’ rights. In addition, while the new law and penal code mandate a minimum age of 18 for marriage, girls as young as 16 can still marry with parental consent. Civil society leaders are pushing for the removal of this loophole, arguing that “parental consent” is too often easily obtained when poor families have too many daughters to feed.
Yet even with these limitations, the new law does provide girls with a voice and power – tangible leverage that girls and advocates alike can use to resist child marriage. The new law also gives sharper teeth to watchdog efforts, enforcement, and the rescue of child brides. In March, advocates from around the world will converge in New York during the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Civil society leaders will celebrate Malawi’s landmark victory for girls, and call upon global decision makers to prioritise girls’ health and education in the post-2015 development process.
One of these powerful advocates is Memory Banda, an 18-year-old Malawian girl. When her younger sister was married aged 11 to a man in his early thirties, Memory promised herself that she would fight for girls’ rights. She went on to finish school and help lead the campaign to pass Malawi’s new law to end child marriage. Memory’s sister, on the other hand, is now 16 years old and has three children.
Memory will raise her voice at the UN to advocate for girls like her sister and for the 70 million more girls around the world who were married as children. “My hope is that global leaders will understand that we girls are powerful leaders of change,” she says. “Marriage is often the end for girls like me. But if our leaders will invest in us and give us the chance to be educated, we will become women who create a better society for everyone.”
Some other groups who are celebrating International Women’s Day:
From March 9 to 20, 2015, thousands of women will be meeting in New York City for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) at the United Nations. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and non-governmental organizations will be gathering to evaluate the progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was originally adopted 20 years ago in 1995.
Check out Doreen the film maker: