It’s been nearly a hundred years since the first women’s day was held – back then women did not have the vote and most women did not have the opportunity of an education or a career.
Nowadays, however, some people question the need for International Women’s Day, as women in many countries are perceived as being equal to men.
International Women’s Day, also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, is annually held on March 8th to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.
But, if you scratch the surface of society and work, both nationally and globally, it will soon become apparent that the battle for equality is still far from over. Controversial issues regularly being raised internationally by feminists include the need for equal pay, objectification of women, violence against women, parental leave, female genital mutilation and the no-more page three campaign in England.
Here are some shocking statistics which I read in today’s Independent newspaper.
- Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.
- On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.
- 38 per cent of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman’s intimate partner.
- A UN report said 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt had been subjected to sexual harassment.
- Over 130 million women living in the world today have undergone female genital mutilation
- A hospital in Birmingham, England, has as many as 40 to 50 women every month who are treated after undergoing female genital mutilation.
- Around 14 million girls, some as young as eight years old, will be married in 2014.
- An estimated 1.2m children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80 per cent are girls.
- In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands
- In the UK, the gender pay gap stands at 15%, with women on average earning £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues. The disparity is even greater in part time jobs, going up to 35 per cent.
- Globally only a 24 per cent of senior management roles are now filled by women.
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Marie Curie.
Here are some of my favourite photographs and paintings depicting women taken from my journeys around the world.
I will leave the last words of this post to the inspirational Malala Yousafzai, who said in her book “I am Malala”:
“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
If there is one message for International Women’s Day it should be this.