International Women's Day - What does it mean?

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March 08, 2010

Darwin Cruz is Online Communications Officer for the Grameen Foundation.

Today is International Women's Day. I first learned about this holiday a few years ago. Back then, I didn't  understand the nature of the celebration or why it's been celebrated for the past 100 years. But now I realize that though in the US it's not yet a major holiday, around the world this day has a big impact.

Take a look at the over 750 events celebrating this day around the world. This year's theme is: Equal rights, equal opportunities: progress of all. I definitely believe in that last statement: unless we are all making progress together, there is no true progress. I wanted to share a couple excerpts from NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, a huge advocate for women worldwide. From his book Half the Sky, he writes:

Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos.

And in response to this, he advocates three steps the world can take to fight this injustice. I'll highlight one of them.

Third, we need more support for women starting businesses. These can be microsavings and microlending programs, or training in entrepreneurship. BRAC and Grameen have done great work in this area, as has Injaz in the Middle East. Such programs lead women to bring in incomes, and that gives them more weight in the home and society. Moreover, they tend to invest the income in their children, so there’s a broader effect in fighting poverty.

We're thankful that he includes the Grameen Bank as part of the solution, as we follow the same philosophies here at the Grameen Foundation. In honor of International Women's Day, we invite you to join us to Stop Poverty Now and you can make a difference for women, and therefore all people.

Learn about the impact you can have on a women's life, and consider what you can do to celebrate Women's Day today in even a small way. Feel free to share what Women's Day means to you in the comments!

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Comments

I think its the day to recognize women and to provide equal opportunities to them in every single field of business etc. But still we see that we have women rights in place but there are areas which need consideration. There are countries where women are not allowed to participate equal in simple words these are male dominant society. We should encourage women in all aspect of life.

Gr8 Post.

Bueno para ser sincera el dia de la mujer no estan viejo, fue creado para reconocer la labor de la mujer a nivel internacional aun cuando el dia de la mujer es todo los dias de nuestras vidas en la brega por la sobrevivencia, el cumplimiento de responsabilidades, el avance de las aspiraciones, metas y el cumplimientos de algunos objetivos como ser humano por muy minimo que estos sean.
Muchas organizaciones integradas en el mundo por la asistencia y la entrega de manera organizada en la igualdad de derechos con respecto al sexo opuesto, donde aun en muchos lugares del mundo se discrimina a la mujer y su salario es menor aun cuando esta sea una profesional capaz.

I am now and have always been passionate in helping out other people, both women and men. I think the work that Grameen does is incredible.

Unfortunately, it seems unbalanced in that I know many women like myself who are Americans and have no foundations to serve us.

I am a hard worker and looked for sources of grants to help me to start a business. There is nothing. I have even contacted Grameen to find that because I live in the USA, I am out of luck.

Now that is a quite unfortunate concept to embrace.

Hi Jenther,

While they're only in a few cities as of now, you may want to check out Grameen America at http://www.grameenamerica.com/ which is a separate org that's in the Grameen family, but operates in the US. They may also have contacts of other orgs in case they are not operating in your city yet.

In my country, many women are no less important role in the country and his family, but also many women who can not do anything about it, although all have the same rights and obligations. I saw in some poor countries many women who need protection and need to get ahead in acting, thinking, and work in all fields. Through this program I hope and pray that the many volunteers or anyone who cares for women and young women anak.Karena more careful and diligent work on something ... it does not mean men do not .. but the role of women should be more attention. why? many women who could do the job boys .. example, pilots, farmers, etc. .. but many men who can not work .. the most important women are giving birth.

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