International Women’s Day

By MyVue Staff Reporter

Basseterre, 8th March, 2021, (MyVue world is today celebrating International Women’s Day with various activities organized to honour the contributions of women in all areas of national development.

It was some 44 years ago, in 1977, that the United Nations took the decision to declare a special day to recognize the achievements of women on March 8th, annually. That decision was cemented, when in 1975, the first observance was achieved during International Women’s Year.

However, the actual effort to use March 8th began in the Soviet Union in 1917 when women there gained suffrage. The idea was later picked up in socialist and communist countries, until around 1967 when feminist organizations logged on to the concept. Ten years after, the United Nations formalized its celebration.

Though the day was first marked in the United States in 1909, it was celebrated on 28th February and organized by the Socialist Party of America. Countries like Switzerland, Denmark, Austria and Germany picked up the celebration in 1911, but did so on 11th March.

International Women’s Day is also a day that is used to amplify the call for gender parity.

“The annual celebration affords everyone, especially women and girls, an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who continue to play extraordinary roles in the development of their communities and countries. It also serves as a platform to engage men and boys as male champions for gender equality, and to raise awareness of the progress being made. The Day also presents the opportunity to call attention to and address the obstacles faced by women to realizing the full complement of their human rights, said Irwin Larocque, Secretary-General, Caribbean Community.

In a CARICOM Statement, he added, “The global theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is: Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World. The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world to shape a more just future, and highlights the special needs of women to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A year later, it is evident that women are disproportionately affected by a rising incidence of domestic abuse, unemployment and the burden of care for children affected by protracted school closures. 

Investments in the provision of quality, affordable child care services is crucial to enabling women who dropped out of the work force at the height of the pandemic, to regain employment. 

Research by the International Labour Organization shows that failure to do so will further push 47 million women and girls in Latin America and the Caribbean below the poverty line.

Larocque said that “Today we celebrate the many women on the frontline of the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, as health care workers, caregivers, essential workers, innovators, community organizers, and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted the tremendous value of their contribution for which we owe them a debt of gratitude.”

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