Funday Times

International Women's Day

If you're a girl, you can grow up with the same rights as the boys around you – you can go to school and study; you can go to work and earn as much as your male colleagues. You can marry whom you choose, when you choose. In a democracy like Sri Lanka, the law even gives you the right to vote for your government. These are not rights to be taken for granted, and women all over the world had to fight to gain them, and still have to fight to keep them.

Across Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian women gathered for small, local rallies like this one in Gaza City.
These women in Brazil called on the government to give pensions to housewives.

International Women's Day (IWD), held annually on March 8, recognizes this struggle. Women all over the world unite to discuss issues that are important in their communities. Education for young girls, protection against dowry demands or underage marriage, fair treatment in the workplace, and female health have all been concerns for many years now.

One of the milestones in the women's movement was in 1869, when British MP John Stuart Mill was the first person in Parliament to call for women's right to vote. On September 19, 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. But women in other countries still had to
struggle for this basic right – and they prepared to rally, protest and picket until they did.

The success of the first International Women's Day in 1911, exceeded all expectation.

During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in many countries.

Hundreds of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments and women's groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. This year's theme is
‘Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All.’

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