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.