Happy International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th around the world, and is a recognized holiday in many countries including Vietnam and Russia, reports CARE Canada’s website dedicated to the Day.

African familyThe importance of the “role of women in international development is the reason CARE Canada has joined in with activities around International Women’s Day,” Kieran Green, their Communications Director, told me.  Over the years, CARE has “found that women play the most powerful role in fighting poverty”, Kieran explained.  “A woman who is empowered is more likely to send her kids to school and make sure her family gets proper health care”.  When women in developing countries become empowered economically, the rates of domestic violence go down.  The effects are enormous and that’s why CARE focuses on women, and it’s also what they’re trying to help people realize on International Women’s Day this year.

Kieran also mentioned that when CARE Canada realized there was no symbol for International Women’s Day, they decided to resurrect “the old folk tradition of when you want to remember something that’s important you tie a piece of string around your finger”.  It’s similar to the idea presented by the red ribbon for AIDS and the pink ribbon for breast cancer.  “So for this year we’re calling on Canada and hopefully we’ll see it in the years to come spread around the world, that for International Women’s Day as a reminder of everything that women have achieved and for what they have yet to achieve, tie a string around your finger.”

Red bow on fingerCARE Canada’s International Women’s Day website has a video showing Fergie, Duchess of York, wearing a string, as well as some women in Afghanistan, Haiti and elsewhere.  “String is available everywhere, and it’s cheap. It’s easy to tie a string around your finger,” Kieran added.  He’s right – tying a string around my finger by myself took less than a minute.  I may have a friend make it a fancy bow.

CARE Canada has a great website dedicated to International Women’s Day.  Enjoy the Day, and tell your friends about it.  It’s a good opportunity to celebrate the social, economic and political successes of women past and present.  Yet it is also a day to think of the millions of women and girls worldwide who continue to fight for justice, equality and peace, the website reminds us.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Alison Wheatley

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