On International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day (IWD) women from across the globe share their vision and hope for women everywhere. This year we celebrated IWD on March 8th and the inboxes at WAND were filled with inspiring blog articles and emails in honor of this exciting day.
According to the United Nations website dedicated to the history of IWD, “When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.”
WAND is no stranger to the mission of International Women’s Day. For over twenty- five years, WAND has worked with activists throughout the world to help promote peace and to help women get ‘a seat at the table of power’. Our grassroots efforts toward a world that re-directs excessive military spending towards human and social needs has played an important role in legislation in the past 25 years. Our WiLL program with women state legislators has provided a vital link from State Capitols to the nation’s capitol for over 18 years. We were originally founded as “Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament” and now as Women’s Action for New Directions we continue to work on concrete steps to move towards a safer world without nuclear weapons. We also maintain a UN representative tracking actions that affect women and peace.
We have succeeded many times in the past twenty five years and International Women’s Day gives us a reason to pause and take note of all that we have accomplished so far, and all that is still left to do.
The United States has not yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women. We are one of only 7 countries that have failed to ratify this treaty. In places where the treaty has been ratified, significant improvements have already been made: Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan have seen increases in literacy rates. Australia, Brazil, and others have actually incorporated parts of the CEDAW treaty right into their constitutions. The United States Senate should ratify CEDAW and show that the advancement of women and girls’ rights around the world is a priority.
Since the U.S. led forces overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, the promotion of women’s rights has generated much public debate. While some commentators suggest that prolonged military occupation is needed to protect women, a recent report, titled Afghan Women Speak by David Cortright and Sara Smiles Persinger notes that “ it will be impossible for girls and women to consolidate their gains in a militarized environment.” The report emphasizes that Afghan women need to be part of the peace process- not an afterthought. It is essential for women to be included in the peace negotiations in order to ensure that their needs are met and that a successful and sustainable peace is achieved.
Although International Women’s Day has passed, the entire month of March is devoted to the amazing history of women. During Women’s History Month, make sure to use this time to make sure that as a woman YOUR voice is heard in Congress. For information on how to take action with WAND, go to our Action Center.