International Women’s Day which was celebrated on March 8 has been observed since the early 1900’s. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
And of course much has happened since, but despite the growing recognition of women’s rights and significant improvements to in treatment and status of women, International Women’s Day is as relevant now as it was in 1908.
Unfortunately women around the world are more likely to live in poverty, simply because they are women. Women’s unequal position in many societies continues to mean they have less power, money, protection from violence and access to education and healthcare.
Despite these injustices, women everywhere are standing up to claim their rights and to fight poverty and International Women’s Day provides all of us with an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing fight for gender justice and to celebrate the efforts of women leading the fight.
Action Aid and The Guardian have used International Women’s day to do exactly that by producing three fantastic short films that illustrate some of the serious problems that affect women in developing countries, at the same time as showing the amazing work that women are doing to solve those problems.
This was our land
Despite the fact that women produce the majority of food for their communities women don’t have the right to own land in many developing countries. This is especially problematic in the context of HIV in countries like Uganda, because if a women is widowed or abandoned, she can be left completely destitute, like the women in this film.
Thousands of women in Brazil depend on babussu nuts for their livelihoods, using them to produce soap, oil, charcoal and building materials. However many of the babussu trees are enclosed in private land and the women in this film are campaigning for their right to access the nuts. It’s a story of economic and social empowerment.
The Likoni Girls
41 million girls are still denied the right to primary education. One of the key barriers to getting more girls into school is the violence and social abuse they experience, at home, on the way to and at school. Girls forums, like the one in this film, provide an invaluable space for girls to talk about the issues they face and break the silence and challenge the stigma which surround this issue.
All three films only take a few minutes to watch and well worth it.
I also shared this article on my Ode Magazine Blog