International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s when it was originally celebrated as International Working Women’s Day. It is recognized on March 8th every year and honors women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
Gender equality is a huge focus for the UN community, with Millennium Development Goal #3 specifically designed to empower women and girls, and dozens of the agencies and entities focused on gender-based initiatives. In fact, this year honors the official one year anniversary of the creation of UN Women, a more powerful UN entity designed to help spread gender equality and women’s rights empowerment.
International Women’s Day is near and dear to UNA-GB, as we have celebrated it with an annual film screening and panel for the past few years. This screening is the biggest event of our Women’s Forum, which was created in 2006 to raise awareness about women’s issues in developing countries and engage men and women in Boston on solutions. You can learn more about this year’s screening below, and make sure to check out last year’s blog post on our screening event.
We hope you can join us at some (or all!) of the events listed below. We will continue to update the blog as we learn of more events, so check back! It’s important that we continue to work together towards eliminating discrimination and improving the lives of women all across the world.
International Women’s Day Film Screening and Panel
War Redefined with Series Producer Abigail E. Disney
When: Monday, March 5; 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Where: MCLE Auditorium, 10 Winter Pl, Boston
Don’t miss UNA-GB’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring a film screening of War Redefined, the last of the Women, War & Peace series, produced by series executive producer Abigail E. Disney. A panel discussion on the role of women in peace building and war will follow the film, featuring Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri. This is an incredibly timely topic, with 3 women peace-builders winning the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Obama Administration’s December announcement of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and Secretary Clinton’s recent comments on the lack of women at high-level security talks.
War Redefined reframes our understanding of modern warfare through probing conversations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic; Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International; globalization expert Moisés Naím; and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University, among others.
Along with hosting our annual International Women’s Day film screening and celebration, UNA-GB is also co-sponsoring some incredible International Women’s Day Events in Boston:
Ending Violence Against Women: Pathways to Power, Resilience and Leadership International Women’s Day Breakfast
When: Thursday, March 8; 7:30-9:30 AM
Where: Simmons College, Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Boston
Join UNA-GB and dozens of organizations around Boston in celebrating the city’s 15th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast. Panel will include Purnima Mane, CEO and President of Pathfinder International, Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, Audrey Porter of My Life My Choice and Ann Fleck Henderson from Simmons College.
RSVP at http://iwd2012.eventbrite.com/
Women for Women International’s Boston “Join Us at the Bridge” Event
When: March 8, 10am-12pm
Where: Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Boston
Stand up with women around the world, honoring the strength of women working for equality, justice, and peace.
Feeding Boston, Changing the World: International Women’s Day 2012
When: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 6-9pm
Where: Ballroom, Curry Student Center, Northeastern University
What: Panel discussion followed by a dinner celebration
Free and open to the public. Spaces limited. RSVP here.
This International Women’s Day, Boston’s Oxfam Action Corps invites you to honor women who work the land, feed their families, and plow the way forward to more sustainable agricultural economies here and abroad.
Additional International Women’s Day Events around Boston:
End Impunity for Sexual Violence against Women and Girls
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:00PM-7:30PM
Where: Old South Meeting House
Latina Women’s Conference
Extraordinary Women fighting for Migration Justice
Where: MA State House
When: Friday, March 9th, 2012 9:30- am- 3:00pm
Hosted by: Women in Solidarity Committee, whose network of Women in Solidarity is growing. 300 Latina women participated in 2011. Latina women advocated last year to opposed secure community program and create a community forum to reflect on violence and immigration issues. Their goal is to create space for Latinas por el Cambio and expanded their reach to other places. They founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.
Celebrate International Women’s Day Event at Gallery Kayafas
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7pm – 8:30pm
Where: Gallery Kayafas, 37 Thayer St. @450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Learn about AI’s work defending women’s rights featuring Zainab Abdullah, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan who has recently returned from researching honor killings in Pakistan. She will be joined by Beena Sarwar, a leading Pakistani journalist and democracy, human rights, and peace advocate. Hosted by the Back Bay Amnesty Group. RSVP to Alexandra Prim by 3/5/12. Space is limited. Learn more.
Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Eritrean Community Center
Where: 590 Shawmut Ave, Boston
When: Saturday, March 10th, 8-10pm
The Eritrean Community Center of Greater Boston works to promote social and cultural interactions among Eritrean-Americans as well as area residents and friends for mutual understanding and awareness, integration, economic self-sufficiency, Eritrean heritage, and youth leadership.
2012 International Women’s Day:
Rally & March
When: March 10, 12 PM
Where: Meet at the Boston Common at the Gazebo
Meet to kick of the rally and then we’ll take it to the streets with guest speakers at Court Street, State Street MBTA, and State House. All individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a banner or signs, instruments, and other creative forms of expression and march together in struggle for living wage jobs, universal healthcare and childcare for all.
Where: Midway Café 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain 02130
When: March 10, 7 PM
Benefiting The Prison Birth Project & Girls Rock Campaign Boston $5 at the door, 21+ event
To register email InternationalWomensDayBoston@gmail.com
Harvard Kennedy School’s International Women’s Day Celebration
When: March 8, 2012
Where: HKS campus, various locations
8:30 – 10:00am, Breakfast for faculty, students and staff
Allison Dining Room, Taubman building, 5th floor
The Women and Public Policy Program is hosting a breakfast with HKS Academic Dean, Iris Bohnet, women faculty from across Harvard, students, staff and other members of our community. All are welcome!
11:40am – 1:00pm, WAPPP Seminar: Women’s Health and Health System Reform: The Route to Transformational Development?
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
Health system reform in the United States and globally holds the promise of improving the health and well-being of women and a major opportunity for development, particularlyin the developing world. Dr. Johnson will explore the intersection of health system reform and the opportunities for transformational development through improvements in women’s health status, workforce development, and advancing women’s rights.
6:00 – 8:00pm, Film Screening: Iron Jawed Angels
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
“Iron Jawed Angels” tells the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote.
To learn more about even more events happening in your area, check out the International Women’s Day website. Let us know if you find any other events in the Boston area to celebrate International Women’s Day, so that we can update this blog to help people stay connected and aware of how to get involved locally!
One of the most publicized issues this summer has been the arguments on Capitol Hill over the debt ceiling. The political stalemates have been so much on the forefront of the public agenda that other dire issues, such as the famine in the Horn of Africa have been somewhat overshadowed. However, the two issues are linked more than one might initially think.
As most are aware at the end of the day on August 2nd, Congress finally came to an agreement on the debt ceiling debate which avoided the detrimental U.S. default. What is known about the agreement is that it cuts almost $1 trillion, however, what hasn’t been made immediately visible is the precise details of such cuts. We do know that important programs for the poor – throughout the globe – are at serious risk. It is also important to be aware of the appropriations bill that was passed by the House for the State Department and Foreign Assistance. Within this bill were cuts to the UN’s regular budget and UN peacekeeping. The simple truth is that if the bill is passed by Congress and signed into law, the UN will return to its previous state of cycles of debt. Cuts to the UN’s budget detrimentally impede the organization’s ability to aid in foreign catastrophes such as the current humanitarian crisis in the Eastern Horn of Africa – with Somalia suffering the most from the drought-induced famine.
In his op-ed, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia writes: ” “from terrorism to the threat of pandemics, the United States faces challenges that are beyond the power and financial means for any single nation, no matter how powerful, to address alone. Our contributions to the UN enhance our national security and our foreign policy priorities, save dollars while growing jobs and our economy and strengthen our leadership in the international community.” And as Massachusetts’ own US Senator, and ardent foreign relations advocate, John Kerry so eloquently put it, “We can either pay now to help brave people build a better, democratic future for themselves or we will certainly pay later with increased threats to our own national security…This is not time for America to pull back from the world. This is a time to step forward.”
The UN and the U.S. are currently making substantial efforts to help the about 11 million people directly affected by the famine. Efforts include:
- UNICEF is working to help over 250,000 children from Somalia who are suffering from acute malnutrition. They have already provided 8,300 bags of nutritional supplies to 2,800 children. The goal is to reach 70,000 children within the next six months and to provide them with nutrition and water.
- As of late, World Food Programme is reaching 1.5 million people in Somalia and is scaling up to reach an additional 2.2. million in the previously inaccessible south of the country. Airlifts to Mogadishu began earlier in the month to bring special nutritious foods to malnourished children.
- UNHCR – through its partners – has delivered emergency assistance packages to benefit 15,000 internally displaced persons in Somali camps. The organization plans to distribute 7.500 additional packages in the upcoming weeks.
The U.S. is currently the largest donor to the UN and to the relief in the Horn of Africa – what will happen if important funds are cut from such initiatives? It’s important that we stay engaged and involved in the coming months in order to demonstrate to our representatives in Capitol Hill just how important our international commitments are.
That is why we hope you will join UNA-GB and our fellow chapters around the country in engaging in dialogue with our elected officials this fall. We will be in touch with ways to take action and specific asks that will be good to make, especially when your representatives are on fall recess. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be involved more in depth on these advocacy efforts.
Also, if you want to learn more about the crisis in the Horn of Africa and what we can do to make a difference, on September 12th UNA-GB is co-sponsoring the DocYard’s screening of Rain in a Dry Land, a film which provides an eye-opening look at what it means to be a refugee in today’s “global village.” Purchasing tickets to view the film, which chronicles the lives of two Somali Bantu families, is a great way to get educated more on what refugees face in the transition process. There will also be information shared about how you can help end the famine crisis in Somalia and the Horn of Africa.
Wherever you are from, whatever nation or clan you belong to, if you a woman, you are part of a tribe called “women”. This thought was the theme of our annual International Women’s Day celebration and film screening, held on Monday, March 14.
We had the privilege of showing the first screening of A Tribe of Women, which is a documentary for Sudanese women’s courageous quest to stop war in Sudan. This film is based on the concept that women understand other women regardless of their ethnicity and tribe, and together can make a real difference in the journey towards peace. The women featured in the film are from different areas in Sudan and come from very different backgrounds. However, al of the women experienced tragedy, fear, and loss throughout the on-going civil wars, and they also share a sense of hope and healing for the future.
Thato Mwosa, a female filmmaker, who is from Botswana, followed My Sister’s Keeper, an organization dedicated to women peace-builders in Sudan, as they launched their Sisterhood for Peace Initiative. Through the camera, we hear the voices of Sudanese women and see their shared experiences lifted up. Their collected voices empowered them to take action to emphasize the importance of ending war in Sudan. Their work has not been easy: ministers at Doha Rounds in Qatar refused to meet with them, but the women showed up anyway. They set up a table in the lobby of the hotel where the ministers were staying and demanded that they held a meeting to listen to what the women had to say. Through Sisterhood for Peace, the women are uniting to bring about real change and real peace.
After the screening, Thato Mwosa, the film maker, Sarah Rial, one of the featured women in the film and the Program Director of My Sister’s Keeper, Gloria E. White-Hammond, executive director of My Sister’s Keeper, and Liz Walker, the film’s producer answered the audience’s questions and talked about their thoughts, process of the action, the film and their wish.
While the first draft of the film is complete, the work of the women (and the film!) is not over! They are continuing their work but progress is slow. This story is not over, so they need support to be able to make aware of the war and women’s experiences in Sudan. To learn how you can support the film and My Sister’s Keeper’s work, go here.
Peace comes only when we join together to work for a better world, and there is a special role for women at the table, which we were really able to celebrate and lift up as we honored International Women’s Day! Celebrate the sheroes in your life all year round!
PS. See more photos from our International Women’s Day film screening!