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!
Each year on October 24 we honor the the day in 1945 when the United Nations Charter came into effect. Each UN Day, throughout the globe, the efforts of the United Nations are recognized and celebrated.
This year, marking the 66th anniversary of the UN, the theme for UN Day is: “UN Day: In Everyone’s Interest.” The United Nations delivers everything from: peace and democracy with over 120,000 troops and personnel deployed to 15 peacekeeping missions; as well as, promoting human rights; to building economic prosperity; and, advancing global health.
Here at UNA-GB we too celebrate this special day each year. This year, beginning on Monday of next week we have several events you can attend to show your support for the important global organization. On October 24, UNA-GB will hold a UN Day Celebration and Model UN Simulation at the Massachusetts State House. The event will begin with UNA-GB raising the UN Flag at Boston City Hall to fly over Boston for the week and will read the City of Boston’s UN Day Proclamation, signed by Mayor Menino. Next, 100 Boston area middle and high school students and additional guests will head over to the Massachusetts State House for a Model UN simulation. The students will step into ambassadors’ shoes from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, China and Russia to debate the pervasive problem of gender inequality globally, and answer the question: Why do global inequalities for women in education and employment persist and what can be done about it?
Carol Fulp, 2011 Massachusetts UN Day Chair; SVP of Brand Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, John Hancock Financial; and US Representative to the 65th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (appointed by President Obama in Fall 2010) will give opening remarks at the Simulation and Governor Deval Patrick has been invited to read his 2011 UN Day Massachusetts proclamation.
You can also show your support on the 24th by heading into one of the award winning local bakery Sweet Cupcakes and purchase a specially made UN Day cupcake at one of Sweet’s four locations around Boston: Back Bay, 49 Massachusetts Ave; 225 Newbury Street; Harvard Square: Zero Brattle Street; Downtown: 11 School Street. Cupcakes will also be provided to students at the Model UN simulation!
Occurring simultaneously on the 24th, cities and towns throughout Massachusetts from Westwood to Yarmouth will be submitting proclamations supporting the UN. Proclamations range in content but all provide resounding support for the mission and work of the UN globally and the work UNA-GB is doing locally in the community.
Ending the week we will be holding our annual UN Day Luncheon on Friday, October 28 which gathers leaders from the business, policy, and academic communities in the Greater Boston area for an engaging dialogue on world affairs and an opportunity to network with other globally conscious individuals and organizations. This year our keynote speaker will be Gillian Sorensen, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation and former Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations. Sorensen has distinguished career at the UN serving two Secretaries-General, Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. During her service Sorensen was responsible for 4,000 non-governmental organizations, and is also an ardent advocate to the US/UN relationship. Sorensen’s remarks will focus on “The UN and You: Global Citizenship in the 21st Century”.
This year at the Luncheon we will also be introducing our first-ever Global Corporate Citizenship honor roll recognizing the more than 30 Massachusetts-based companies who have signed on to key business principles through the UN Global Compact. We believe it is important to highlight the leaders in our community making a difference around sustainable development and corporate citizenship. Funds raised through ticket sales and sponsorships at the Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and class-room based programs, which serves more than 5,000 participants annually in greater Boston. This years sponsors include: Clark University Graduate School of Management; British School of Boston; GGA Software Services, LLC; New England College of Business and Finance; Ocean Spray; and our 2011-2012 Education Program sponsor National Grid.
Our Campus Ambassadors will also be celebrating UN Day at their respective universities throughout the month. At Northeastern University there is a two week celebration with events, starting already this past week including a movie screening of “The Whistleblower,” on Sunday, October 16 followed by a discussion of the importance of speaking up in difficult situations and possible resulting reforms. At the beginning of this week, there will be a screening of “Seeds of Peace,” which will kick off a week of various programs including panel discussions with the film maker. Positive Foundations at Brandeis University will be hosting a panel discussion on the importance of literacy and education in developing countries. Other universities such as Boston College, Tufts University and Suffolk University will also be holding celebratory events.
Help us celebrate 66 years of peace, justice and prosperity with the UN and the importance of thinking globally and acting locally!
On October 24 the world will celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. As we near this anniversary it is important to revisit the key missions of the United Nations, which centers around finding solutions to critical global challenges.
In 2010 the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concluded with the adoption of a global action plan, which laid out Eight Millennium Development Goals, ranging from extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/Aids. Another one of the goals that has many ties to the rest is MDG 3, which focuses on Gender Equality. Achieving equal rights for women and girls is a big focus on the global stage currently, and recent headline news reflects this.
Islamic states, Saudi Arabia and Iran have all recently been criticized for their records with women’s rights. In the recent UN Watch Testimony to UN Human Rights, Iran and Saudi Arabia were listed as countries where women are deprived of their human rights.
The legal system of The Islamic Republic of Iran discriminates against women. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women cannot drive and women are denied the right to vote and be elected to high political positions. Women, who don’t have the right to drive, however may gain the right to vote.
Recently, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced women will have the right to vote in local elections in 2015 and become members of the advisory Shura council. Two days after this announcement a court sentenced a woman to 10 whiplashes for violating the kingdom’s religious rules prohibiting women from driving. Usually police stop female drivers, and after they have them sign a pledge not to drive anymore, let them go. This is the first time when legal punishment has been ordered for the violation of driving ban in Saudi Arabia. The court acted after a women’s campaign launched on Facebook and Twitter emboldened by the Arab Spring that inspired women to get behind the wheel and drive. These contradictions are the results of an endless fight between the country’s conservatives and those who want to improve women’s situation.
The issue recalls a long time fight that still continues in Afghanistan. In 1928 King Amanulah and his wife introduced new reforms, which included: the abolition of burqa, mixed schools for boys and girls, and the country’s mullahs. Later, the country’s conservatives and mujahideen began attacking the government. Presently, the country’s conservatives continue rising up against reforms – which would give basic human rights to women in Afghanistan.
The presence of women in Afghan parliament is a show of democracy. In fact, women holding high-ranking political positions do not have the authorities provided by their positions. Women struggle to play a significant political role and they are continually excluded from peace and security processes as well as solving important issues. The most members of the parliament are warlords, the ethnic militias who fought against each other from 1992 to 1996, killing thousands of civilians. Human Rights Watch published a report called “Blood stained Hand” which referred to warlords as “the world’s most serious human rights offenders.”
Now the Afghan government is willing to sacrifice women’s rights in order to compromise with Taliban. According to Oxfam – women’s rights are at risk in Afghanistan. When the international troops withdraw, the government will continue its peace negotiations with Taliban, which will deprive women from some of their basic human rights, which they have regained in the past 10 years with the opening of schools for girls. The spread of insurgency, violence and a corrupted government have left, and will continue to lead, people with no hope of peace.
In Saudi Arabia, the voting rights itself can be a show. The country’s political system is not different from totalitarian regimes that have been overthrown by the Arab Spring revolution. Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 by King Abd-al-Aziz who united the country under his family’s rule. After his death in 1953 the political power has been in the hands of the royal family and thousands of its princes. For centuries the country has been isolated from the rest of the world and censored by the ruling monarchy. Now, through modern technologies, especially social media, people started have begun to realize that Islam has been used to impose the dynasty’s rules and to exploit the nation’s people.
The conversation about women’s rights in the Middle East, and throughout the entire globe, is an important one that we need to continue having. Our Women’s Forum focuses on many of these issues and will likely have some events coming up in the spring around women in the Middle East in particular so stay tuned!
In the near time, you can come celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations with UNA-GB and help us keep the conversation going. One direct way to do this is to help support the next generation of global leaders learn about these important issues, with the UN Day Model UN mini-simulation at the Massachusetts State House on October 24 -where middle and high school students will debate Gender Inequality focusing on women’s education and employment opportunities worldwide. You can also hear a powerful UN advocate and female leader, Gillian Sorensen speak at our annual UN Day Luncheon on October 28. Tickets are on sale now!
Also, if you are more interested in focusing specifically on women’s equality join our Women’s Forum and come to our many interesting events held throughout the year!
Tuesday marked the Centennial Anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past and present that is observed around the world. This year is also notable for being the first International Women’s Day for UN Women, created by the UN General Assembly on July 2010 and formally launched just last month. The theme this year is “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”. Last week, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon highlighted the imperative need for the inclusion of women to achieve greater strides in meeting the Millenium Development Goals.
“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental to the global mission of the United Nations to achieve equal rights and dignity for all… But equality for women and girls is also an economic and social imperative. Until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals — peace, security, sustainable development — stand in jeopardy.” – Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
The call to make equality a reality that was present in Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Message was also present in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, where she called for more ways to include women in the international dialogue and provide access for all women to live with access to education and free from violence.
At the 1995 Beijing Conference, Clinton famously asserted that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” This was further seen at Tuesday’s 14th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast hosted by Simmons Institute for Leadership and Change, and co-sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, with the theme “Unequal Treatment Under the Law: Women in the Criminal Justice System” which drew over 200 attendees from throughout the Boston area.
Karen Holmes Ward moderated the event and introduced panelists, Ph.D. Erika Kates, Representative Kay Khan, Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, and Girl Scouts Beyond Bars past program participant and current manager Dawn Coleman. Each of the panelists offered a unique perspective as they educated the audience on the challenges women face due to current laws and policy. The statistics were shocking and reinforced the statements made by many attendees that this breakfast was addressing an invisible issue within our national community. The moving personal account of Coleman’s own oppression within the justice system made both the extremity of the inequality and the timeliness of the issues clear to audience members. To close, Sheriff Cabral recognized many of the programs designed to give women agency and voice in this arena while also emphasizing the importance of us all in bringing to action the work that still needs to be done.
With March also being Women’s History Month, there are events being held throughout the month that focus on education and advocacy surrounding women’s issues. Check out this month’s events!
Tuesday March 8th
International Women’s Day Celebration
Hosted by: Women’s Information Network
Time: All Day
Location: Back Bay Sheraton
NERD International Women’s Day Mixer
Hosted by: New England Research and Development Center
Time: 6-8 pm
Location: Microsoft New England R&D Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge MA.
Ladies Who Launch Networking Mixer
Hosted by: Ladies Who Launch
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Top of the Hub
Saturday March 12th
Run for Congo Women
Hosted by: Women for Women International
Time: 10 am
Location: Boston’s Esplanade
Monday, March 14th
International Women’s Day Film Screening, Reception, and Panel
Hosted by: UNA-GB and My Sister’s Keeper
Time: Reception at 6:00 pm, Film Screening at 6:30 pm.
Location: Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc 10 Winter Place. Boston, MA 02108
COST: $10 Member/Student | $15 Non-member
Friday, March 18th
V-Day Boston 2011: Spotlight on Violence Against Women and Girls of Haiti
Hosted by: UNA-GB and Suffolk University’s Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights
Time: 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM
Location: Suffolk University, 73 Tremont St, Boston, MA
Tuesday, March 22nd
The Challenges of Practicing Law in Sharia Courts in Nigeria
Hosted by: UNA- GB’s Women’s Forum
Time: 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM
Location: Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East
Time: Reception at 6:30 PM | Talk at 7:00 PM
Location: 6 Hilliard Pl. Cambridge, MA 02138
Cost: $15 Member Ticket | $20 Non-member Ticket
RSVP NOW – Limited Space Available!
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day either by coming to one of the events in the area or by learning more about your local and national policies and taking action within your community to ensure women’s voices are heard!
-Alex Teague & Katie Miles.
“Do you know what it’s like to be dying of thirst?”
This was the opening line of the seventh grade delegates representing Turkey at the Malden District Middle School Model UN Simulation held last Monday December 13, 2010.
After preparing for ten class periods and participating in in-school simulations in four Malden middle schools, the star negotiators, public-speakers, and future leaders were chosen to represent their school at a district wide simulation. Students from Ferryway, Salemwood, Linden, and Beebe Middle Schools in Malden descended on the Malden senior center to debate, negotiate, and propose solutions to the global issue of water scarcity.
During the debate, the delegates brought to the floor many issues connected to water scarcity, including health concerns, gender inequality, and international debt forgiveness. The delegate from Egypt suggested that the developed world forgive 1.5% of the global debt owed to them by the developing world so those funds could go to water projects, such as building wells and irrigation systems. The delegate from France offered to share engineers and technology to the developing world to help build national water infrastructure. And many delegates were appalled that women and children were missing out on an education because they had to walk several miles every morning just to fill one jerry can with water.
After having only ten class periods and one simulation to prepare, these Malden Middle School Students were proposing solutions that would provide foreign aid, send technology experts, and bring medical supplies to the developing world, who suffers the most from water scarcity. The Malden Middle School students did an outstanding job of working to fix a major global issue, water scarcity, in just two and a half hours.