The rights of women have progressed, and today is a marker of how far women have come through history, to celebrate their achievements and to focus on how we can move towards sustainable change. International Women’s day (IWD) is an initiative that dates back to the early 1900’s; a time that saw great expansion in the industrial world, a growing population and history-changing ideologies. It was not until 1975 that the United Nation’s began celebrating IWD on 8th March. Now every year organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and media across the globe play a role in addressing global and local gender issues.
This year’s official United Nations theme is “A promise is a promise: time for action to end violence against women”, while International Women’s Day 2013 has declared the year’s theme to be “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”. The UK Government started the day releasing a map that shows the actions that have taken place across the world to support and empower women. The illustrations on the map inform the public of the UK’s commitment to preventing violence towards women and girls worldwide.
The UK Government have already taken action towards the prevention of female gender mutilation (FGM) and this week saw the announcement of a new UK aid programme that is expected to cut FGM by 30 percent in at least ten priority countries over the next five years. Action has also been taken to eradicate child marriage in Bangladesh, with plans to criminalise forced marriage, and change attitudes towards violence against women in South Africa.
Within the UK, the government has given close to £40 million of ring-fenced funding for services to help with domestic and sexual violence, such as national helplines, while money has been invested in advertising campaigns addressing issues such as rape, domestic violence and abuse within teenage relationships.
In order to ‘Gain Momentum’ the Government are trying to ensure that women are given the chance to build a career by providing £1.6 million to support rural women’s enterprises. In addition £2 million has been given for grants for women who need support in the childcare industry.
The Department of International Development has called upon the UN as part of its perseverance to stop violence against women and girls. Join their campaign to let the world know that enough is enough.
For research promoting women’s health take a look at the BioMed Central’s blog.