Monday, March 8, 2010

Days: International Women's Day

It has been pointed out to me by Byter Shirley that today is International Women's Day and that a Bytes item would be appropriate.

I am grateful to Shirley for pointing this out.   March 8 of every year is IWD. I didn’t know it until Shirley raised it and I looked up Wikipedia.

There is no reference to IWD in my diary for March 8, notwithstanding that it notes such events as Constitution Day, Japan (3 May) and Vesak Day (?) Singapore (28 May). There was also no mention of IWD that I saw in any of the newspapers, although that would be understandable, attention having been focused on such headline events as the Oscars, Lara Bingle’s nude photo and Daniel Mortimer’s signing with the Eels.

Some notes about International Women’s Day:

- From Wikidpedia:

International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia and the countries of former Soviet bloc). In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them in a way somewhat similar to Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day mixed together. In others, however, the political and human rights theme as designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

- Countries which observe IWD:

Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh ,Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, FYROM, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia

- For IWD 2010, the International Red Cross is focusing attention on the hardships endured by displaced women as a result of war.

- Many of the countries of the former Soviet bloc declare the day a public holiday.

- It is customary on IWD for men to give the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc - flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother's Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

- In 1975, which had been designated as International Women’s Year, the United Nations gave official sanction to and began sponsoring International Women's Day.

- There have been controversies associated with IWD, especially where demonstrations have turned violent or gotten out of hand. As an example, on 8 March 2000, following a march in Montreal, a group of militant feminists placed burning crosses on the steps of a Roman Catholic church and ransacked the building. In Iran on March 4, 2007, police beat hundreds of men and women who were planning a rally. Police arrested dozens of women, holding them in solitary confinement and subjecting them to interrogation

So from me to the female readers on this International Women’s Day: You are appreciated, greatly.

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