Happy International Women’s Day and Happy New Year! As ever, there is a lot to celebrate and a lot to continue to challenge, including the news that the government is planning to axe pay equity research. This was the subject of a great faxathon last Friday, but it is an ongoing campaign and you can find more details at http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2009/02/pay-equity-faxathon-march-6th.html
I’ve pasted below some news from a Women’s E-News service I subscribe to which gives us a good mini-overview of some news coming out prior to International Women’s Day. Have a happy one!
|Women’s Day Celebrated; Global Wage Gap Grows
|Run Date: 03/07/09
|By WeNews Staff
Worldwide, women are continuing to achieve upticks in political representation in national assemblies and legislative bodies, according to the annual report card of the Inter Parliamentary Union. In 2008, women’s representation increased to 18.3 percent from 17.7 percent in 2007, with a 60 percent overall increase in female representation since 1995. The ranks of female lawmakers still fall short of a 30 percent benchmark target set by the United Nations in 1995, the Associated Press reported March 5.
To mark International Women’s Day on March 8–and the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women–the United Nations has increased its calls to end violence against women. Events in nations around the world are drawing attention to anti-violence efforts, including rallies, press conferences, exhibits, concerts, panels and seminars.
“This year there is much to celebrate,” UNIFEM executive director Ines Alberdi said in a prepared statement. “The vision women marched for over a century ago, of a life free of poverty and violence, has spread to countries around the globe. People everywhere believe that lives of men and women can be different, and governments have the fundamental obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.”
More News to Cheer This Week:
- “The Hijabi Monologues” is catching on with audiences and challenging perceptions of women who wear the Muslim headscarf, the Los Angeles Times reported March 6. The play was written by three women in 2007 and, like Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” gathers women’s stories about their experiences covering their heads. The play has had fewer than a dozen performances in the United States, but interest has picked up rapidly in the past few months, with performances planned in more U.S. cities and additional women writing monologues.
- Members of the First Inclusive Women’s Sagarmatha Expedition–the 10 Nepali women who climbed Mt. Everest in May 2008 to become the first all-women expedition to summit the world’s highest peak–have started a project presenting a video of their story to schoolgirls around the country, the Inter Press Service reported March 2. The mountaineers are hoping to inspire other Nepali women to climb the peak, which is scaled each year by several thousand people, mostly male and foreign. Before 2008, only seven Nepali women had climbed Everest.
- Girls have tentatively been returning to school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, the United Nations’ IRIN News reported March 4. Taliban militants had banned girls from attending school in the region in December.
- Vietnamese women form 50 percent of the paid work force, comprise 83 percent of those participating in economic activity and hold 30 percent of seats in their national assembly. Vietnam was recognized as the Southeast Asian nation that has done the most to eradicate the gender gap over the past 20 years, Vietnam News reported Feb. 27. The country ranked 68th among 130 world nations in the 2008 Global Gender Gap report and continues to experience high rates of domestic violence, increasing HIV rates among women and an imbalanced sex ratio between male and female infants.
- Discussion of abstinence-only sex education is “unpopular on Capitol Hill these days” and the Democratic Party’s control of Congress signals the “beginning of the end” for the curriculum, CQ Weekly reported March 2. Annual funding provided to states to pay for abstinence-only programs currently amounts to $95 million, but political support has waned. Abstinence education has been assaulted by reproductive health advocates as ineffective, deeply flawed and even harmful to women’s health.