On March 8, 2013, International Women’s Day, celebrate the role of the women’s movement as a force for human rights (including the abolition of slavery) and nonviolence.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”
It is fitting that on February 28, 2013, after considerable delay, the U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval to a renewal of America’s Violence Against Women Act.
According to the Public Affairs Office at the United Nations, “When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.”
A few key historical events:
- On February 28, 1909, promoted by a declaration of the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed in the United States.
- On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day, proclaimed during the 2010 Socialist International meeting, was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
- In late February, 1913, as part of a protest against impending war, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day. On March 8, 1917, they engaged in a protest and strike for “Bread and Peace.”
- In December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a U.N. Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, which has come to be celebrated annually on March 8. In many countries, but not the United States, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.
- In July, 2010, the U.N. created its UNWomen agency to empower women and promote their human rights.
Among their continuing struggles are women’s efforts on behalf of peace in the Middle East today. See, for example, this video about Israeli and Palestinian women.
Empowering women is a giant step toward embracing and promoting nonviolence.
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology