As we observe and celebrate International Women’s Day 2012, it should escape no one’s notice that this last year has been a pivotal one for women’s empowerment and rights. With the Arab Spring we saw the strong and courageous activism of women across the Middle East leading the movement for change. Despite that, progress towards women’s equality in the region has been discouraging and it has become painfully clear that the revolutions that took place, while in large part depending on women’s participation, did not have women’s interests at heart. Despite that, it was thrilling to have the Nobel Peace Prize shared by a woman from Yemen and two women from Liberia for their pivotal work in advocating for peaceful change.
As I write this, it has occurred to me that FPN’s focus this past year been far more geared towards women’s rights in the U.S. than it has in the past. And with good reason. Women’s lives are under siege in the U.S. In recent weeks we have been called sluts and whores, our right to control our own reproductive health is under the worst attack since Roe v Wade. Yet women are striking back in unprecedented numbers and ways. As we go forward, it is clear that the attacks against women, whether they be in the form of rape in the Congo and Somalia, maternal mortality because of appalling health care in Afghanistan, murders in Mexico, human trafficking in Southeast Asia or attacks on reproductive health in the U.S. will continue. But we know we are strong and getting stronger and we will not stop until women everywhere have equal rights.
Please be sure to check out Gender Across Borders wonderful annual IWD blogathon.
Also check out this very inspiring post from Women Deliver that looks at progress being made on behalf of women and girls worldwide. Amnesty International has a great post on IWD from an international perspective.
International Women’s Day in Iraq:
And this call to action from Barcelona (warning, VERY GRAPHIC, probably best not to watch near children or at work):
Finally this bit of IWD Fail from Oxfam:
Sorry, IWD is not about buying stuff, no matter what the organization or company it benefits. And it is especially not about buying such stereotypical girly stuff like craft kits and gravy boats.