March 8, 2007

International Women’s Day

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In honor of International Women’s Day, we take a look at coverage of women from around the globe.

Have an IWD-related post or story to share? Link to it in the comments section!

For starters, InternationalWomensDay.com provides some historical background and maintains a search-by-country listing of events.

World Marks International Women’s Day by Honoring Women — and Pledging to Improve Their Status: From China to Afghanistan to London, the AP goes around the globe, gathering quotes from world leaders and looking at the status of women:

In Bangladesh, men — celebrities, athletes, students — vowed to fight the disfiguring and often deadly practice of attacking women with acid as a means of punishment.

In Mumbai, India, a company launched a new taxi service for women with female cabbies at the wheel, and in Vietnam, men bought their wives and girlfriends bouquets, turning Thursday into the communist nation’s version of Valentine’s Day.

In Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with women lawmakers.

“I want to take this opportunity to send my regards to you and hope you are all successful in your career and have a happy life,” Hu said, shaking their hands in the Great Hall of the People.

However, in Iran, women released after being detained for holding a peaceful gathering earlier in the week were warned Thursday not to attend a women’s day protest outside parliament.

Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: MADRE released this report Tuesday on the incidence, causes and legalization of gender-based violence in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. The report condemns the Bush administration for refusing to protect women’s rights in Iraq.

Here’s more on the report from Frida Berrigan, who writes at WIMN’s Voices about the lack of media coverage of gender-based violence and discusses the links between the “systematic oppression that women are experiencing in Iraq with the systematic de-funding of every education, health care, welfare, housing, childcare and food assistance programs aimed at women here in this country.”

Making Women’s Health an International Priority: “It has been said that the health of a society is measured by how it treats its women,” writes Lucinda Marshall. Looks like we have a crisis.

A Snapshot of the Status of Women: Roxanne notes the lack of U.S. media coverage of IWD and also points to this U.N. snapshot on the status of women, as part of this year’s focus on “Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls.”

World Fails to Treat Rape as Crime: “Rape is weapon of war and the world fails to treat it as a crime, two U.N. agencies said on Wednesday as the Security Council called for justice for women and girls who are victims of violence,” reports Reuters. “The U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that while 104 out of 192 countries in the world had made rape a crime, these laws were poorly enforced.”

News from the Feminist Peace Network: FPN points to stories from Moscow, Afghanistan and Pakistan; World Pulse Magazine’s special IWD edition; and the arrest earlier this week of 32 Iranian women who were protesting in front of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

As of this morning, three of the women remained in prison; an electronic vigil in solidarity with the detainees is underway.

The Japan That Can’t Say Sorry: “By denying that Japan’s military coerced women in conquered countries into sex slavery between 1937 and 1945, and by refusing to issue an official apology for those crimes against humanity, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has added fresh insult to old injuries suffered by ‘comfort women’ who are still alive today,” begins this Boston Globe editorial. The New York Times has a story today on how former sex slaves are coping with the denial.

Blank Noise Action Heroes: Check out this blog-a-thon for women’s stories about how they’ve dealt with street sexual harassment — and emerged feeling like a hero. Here’s some background on the blog-a-thon.

Plus: It’s also Blog About Sexism day. While describing her own call-to-feminist-consciousness, Amanda poses some questions for readers to consider.


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