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International Women's Day


I talk about change quite often in this blog … the pace of change, the inevitability of change and how the only thing we can be sure of is change

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated on March 8th each year and in the last century or so, women have earned tremendous change in their status in society.  Their fight continues on many fronts, but perhaps today is day for women to celebrate the victories they have had and to celebrate the women who keep pushing boundaries! 

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights and international peace. International Women’s Day(IWD) is marked on the 8th of March every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. 

The Government of Canada’s theme for 2011 is Girls’ Rights Matter / Les droits des filles comptent which focuses on the importance of equality and access to opportunity for all girls and women throughout their lives. This theme encourages us to reflect on the situation of girls in Canada, and to look beyond women’s relative privilege domestically, to the international context. This theme also connects to the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. A girl who enjoys equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her own potential, and of being empowered to access the education, training and career opportunities that will contribute to her success in life. 

Some other interesting facts:

  • Canadian women make up the majority of full-time students in most university faculties;

  • The labour force participation for working-age women (15-64 years) has risen from 68.2 per cent to 74.3 per cent over the past decade (1997-2008).  In 2007, women made up 35 per cent of all self-employed individuals.

  • In Kenya where 38% of the farms are run by women, those women manage to harvest the same amount per hectare (2.47 acres) as men, despite men having greater access to loans, advice, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, insecticides. And when women were given the same level of help, they were found to be more efficient than men, and produced bigger harvests

  • There has been a long-term increase in the share of women who are working in managerial positions.  In 2007, 35% of those employed in managerial positions were women.

  • In Sweden, 76% of mothers work, the highest percentage in the developed world

  • In 2004, 48.8% of the seats held in parliament in Rwanda were held by women. Contrast that to Cuba where 36% of the seats were held by women, and the USA, where 14.3 % of the seats were held by women. Saudi Arabia and the Solomon Islands are just two countries where there are no women in parliament

    (UNDP, Human Development Report 2004)

  • In 76 countries, less than half the eligible girls are enrolled in secondary school

  • The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women

  • And the list goes on……