International Women’s Day: Moving toward Gender Equality
Voice of America reported today that women all over the world are engaging in rallies to mark International Women’s Day as they continue to press for equal rights and freedoms on many levels. Of special note this year is increasing women’s representation in government.
As many as 5,000 women marched in the eastern Pakistani city of Multan, while in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai called for an end to violence against women.
In France, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the newly elected first woman president of any African nation, said more women need to take on leadership roles in poor countries. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement on the importance of women in decision making roles, saying, “women are still not making adequate progress” in the political realm.
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In related news, Agence France-Presse, (via Khaleej Times) reported that a conference of Arab human rights groups, which convened from Saturday to Monday in Doha, Qatar concluded that women’s participation in civil society is vital within the Middle East.
According to the report, UN human rights chief Louise Arbor issued a call to action:
“I would like to stress the necessity of encouraging greater participation of women in the public sphere. This can be achieved by ensuring that women occupy key leadership positions within parliaments, governments, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.” She added that women must also be respected at home.
In addition to stressing women’s rights, Boutros Boutros Ghali, former UN secretary-general and current head of Egypt’s national human rights council, said the education curricula in Arab schools must be changed to eliminate material that “goes against the grain of human rights.” Click here to read the full story.