The inaugural International Women’s Day (IWD) was honored in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland by a group of women in pursuit of equal employment opportunities. Since then, the international community has raised its collective voice every year, on March 8th, to celebrate women around the world.
This year, the theme of IWD is especially close to our hearts here at The Hunger Project (THP): Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty.
Empowering rural women is at the very core of our work. Through all of our programs, we aim to support women, build their capacity and ensure their voices are heard and influence felt, in their own families, communities and more widely. As emphasized by Save the Children CEO, Carolyn Miles, at last week’s 1000 Days event that THP co-hosted as a parallel event to the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN: when a woman is empowered with the opportunity to generate income and save, an average of 80 percent of her earnings are reinvested in the health and education of children and family. Collectively, these empowered women are changing regional, and even national, communities around the world.
Despite this proven advantage to empowering women, they continue to account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry – even while comprising 70 percent of the agricultural labor.
That is why we are thrilled that the undeniable need to empower rural women is in the spotlight this International Women’s Day, and that issues of gender equality are now being championed by governments, international agencies and civil society throughout the world. As Hillary Clinton says, “it’s not only the right thing to do. It’s clearly the smart thing as well.”
THP and IWD Around the World
- Bangladesh: The IWD celebrations, organized by the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum, will be held on March 10th. A rally beginning at The National Museum will aim to bring together 2,000 people from 35 organizations and conclude at the Shahid Minar, a national monument in Dhaka, commemorating those killed during the Language Movement demonstrations in 1952.The day’s celebrations will include a cultural event, the reading and signing of a declaration and an award ceremony. Participants will advocate for the implementation of the National Women’s Policy, the encouragement of women in politics, access to health care for rural women, and the awareness of and action against all types of violence against women and girls including trafficking, sexual harassment (eve-teasing) and domestic violence. Check back next week for a complete review of the day’s events.
- New York City: Oxfam, The Hunger Project and more than 20 other like-minded organizations are joining together to honor four NYC-based food justice advocates with an IWD Award. Ellen Gustafson of The 30 Project, Nancy Romer of Brooklyn Food Coalition, Ceci Charles-King of Voices of African Mothers at the UN and Nancy Ortiz-Surun of La Finca de Sur will be honored at St. Francis College at 7 p.m. Join us tomorrow!
These are just two of the many THP IWD events taking place around the world. Check back next week for pictures and stories from other events!
And in the meantime, let us know how YOU plan on celebrating International Women’s Day in the comments.
What You Can Do This IWD
- Tweet about an empowered women in your life & how you’re celebrating IWD with #IWD2012
- Read our officIal International Women’s Day 2012 statement
- Join us in New York City as we co-host an event with Oxfam and other like minded organizations.
- Not in NYC? Find an International Women’s Day event in your area.
- Learn more about THP’s work to empower women.
- Read our 2010 Fact Sheet on Gender, Nutrition and Agriculture, co-authored with the Bread for the World Institute.
- Invest in THP’s work to empower women worldwide.
IWD and the United Nations
- The UN International Women’s Day website
- Watch this inspiring message from UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet