Monday, March 8, 2010
March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD), a day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future around the globe. There is no single theme for IWD. Instead, organisations, governments and women's groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. The IWD website can be found here.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made women's issues a top priority and appears to be emphasizing these issues in her statements and activities. Last week, she announced the 10 winners of this year’s International Women of Courage (IWOC) award. The award recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and advancement. Secretary Clinton will present the awards to the honorees at the Department of State on March 10. The awardees are: Shukria Asil (Afghanistan), Col. Shafiqa Quraishi (Afghanistan), Androula Henriques (Cyprus), Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic), Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ann Njogu (Kenya), Dr. Lee Ae-ran (Republic of Korea), Jansila Majeed (Sri Lanka), Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (Syria), and Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe). The awardees' biographies can be found here.
The first IWD was celebrated in 1911, making next year the 100th anniversary. During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Although not a national holiday in the United States, there are over 100 events taking place around the United States in celebraiton of IWD.