Sunday, March 08, 2009
8 th of March, celebrated as International Working Woman's Day (IWD), is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.
The day is an official holiday in Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Georgia, Italy, Israel, Laos, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, FYROM, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia, and is observed by men giving the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc., flowers and small gifts.
In some countries (such as Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother's Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Yellow mimosas and chocolate are also one of the most common March 8 presents in Russia.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia the custom of giving women flowers still prevails.
In countries like Portugal and Romania, it is usual, at the night of 8 March, groups of women celebrate in "women-only" dinners and parties.
The United Nations supports this day and coins new themes for each year. Some of the global United Nation themes used for International Women's Day to date:
- 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
- 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
- 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
- 2006: Women in decision-making
- 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
- 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
- 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
- 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
- 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
- 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
- 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
- 1998: Women and Human Rights
- 1997: Women at the Peace Table
- 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
I am sure in India as well; we will get to see many functions, rallies and other awareness drives. We Indians treat our country as a woman and call her Bharat Maata. Over the past few years, women in our country are really bringing great laurels in all fields.
While I was going though the website: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/
I happened to note the following Gender Facts:
• Females in developing countries on average carry 20 litres of water per day over 6 km
• Globally women account for the majority of people aged over 60 and over 80
• Pregnant women in Africa are 180 times more likely to die than in Western Europe
• 530,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth each year
• Of 1.2 billion people living in poverty worldwide, 70% are women
• 80% of the world's 27 million refugees are women
• Women own around only 1% of the world's land
• AIDS sees women's life expectancy of 43 in Uganda and Zambia
• 5 people are added to the world's population every 2 seconds
• Women are 2/3 of the 1 billion+ illiterate adults who have no access to basic education
• Suicide is a leading cause of death for Chinese women, and China is the only country in which the suicide rate for females is higher than for males.
• Globally women comprise 42% internet users (Italy 37% ... US & Canada 51%)
• In OECD countries women comrpise only 30 per cent of degrees in science and technology
• Women's representation in computer and information sciences workforce is around 30% globally
• Female inventors still only account for around 10% of the US inventor population
Business / Finance
• Women control $14 trillion in assets and this should grow to $22 trillion over next 10 years
• Women comprise 21 of the 37 million people living below the poverty line in the US
• Only in Japan and Peru are women more active in starting a business than men
• Women spend more time researching before they invest than men do
Media / Arts
• Only 21% of all news subjects (people interviewed or whom the news is about) are female
• Women less than 1% department heads, editors, media owners but third of working journalists
• 80% of UK purchasing decisions are made by women but 83% of 'creatives' are men
• Women do two-thirds of the world's work but receive only 10% of the world's income
• Women's education is the most powerful predictor of lower fertility rates
• One year out of college women earn 20% less than men and 10 years later 31% less
• Women on average are away from workforce for 14.7 years compared to 1.6 years for men
• The biggest EU gender pay gap is in Cyprus and Estonia at 25% then Slovakia at 24%
• 56% of women who voted supported Obama compared to only 49% of men voted for Obama
• Until 20 years ago there had never been more than 5% women MPs globally
• Benazir Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of a muslim country (assassinated 27/12/07)
• From the 27 EU member states, UK ranks 15 for women's representation in national Parliaments
• From 1945 to 1995 the percentage of women MPs worldwide increased four-fold
• Although women make up 51 percent of the world’s population, they hold only 16 percent of parliamentary and congressional seats worldwide.
Before, I end, I would like to clarify that I am not trying to support or criticize the fact that we have “Women’s Day”. It’s not been a month that my post on Valentine’s Day brought questions like – “Do need to celebrate such days? Well I don’t know how far its right or wrong. It’s just another celebration. So as long as it’s not harming any one and bringing cheers to people, I don’t mind it.