Happy International Women’s Day!

As a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest women’s college in the States, I think it is my duty to post a little something for International Women’s Day. My feminist college student side gets all riled up about stuff like this! Being a woman in this day and age may seem to be a big leap from where we were 100 years ago, but it is a far cry from where we could be. It is true that in the States we have come a long way, but we are not there yet, and what about the rest of the world? Gender equality is still very much an idea but not completely put into practice. I think we need a day like today to remind everyone of how far we have to go for true equality. But remembering is not enough. Acknowledging a problem is not enough. You have to take that next step and try to make a difference to improve the situation. Remember what Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

On a lighter note Check out this video I found of Daniel Craig as James Bond and in drag in support of women’s rights. He literally puts himself in women’s shoes, but ends with the poignant question of if we are REALLY equals yet?

Think about it and then do something about it if you actually want to make a difference. Coming from someone who spent her summer killing herself for nonprofits trying to raise money to better the world, I can honestly say that donating is one of the best ways to make a difference. Honestly, would you even remember if you gave $1 per month to a charity? Which incidentally is the cost of educating a girl in the developing world.

You can find the link for NOW (National Organization for Women) here.
You can find the link for the Global Fund for Women here.
You can find the link for UNICEF here.
You can find the link for CAI (Central Asia Institute) here.

Here are some staggering figures provided by UNICEF about women’s rights today:

  • There is a direct link between increased female labor participation and growth: It is estimated that if women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, America’s GDP would be 9 percent higher; the euro-zone’s would be 13 percent higher, and Japan’s would be boosted by 16 percent.
  • Women’s nominal wages are 17 percent lower than men’s.
  • Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property.
  • In Arab States, only 28 percent of women participate in the workforce.
  • 87 perfect of women are illiterate in Afghanistan.
  • At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her.
  • In a recent survey by the American Institute on Domestic Violence, 60 percent of senior executives said that domestic violence, which limits women’s workplace participation, has an adverse effect on company productivity. The survey found that domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year — the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
If that doesn’t make you depressed or pissed as hell, you ain’t human.

Greg Mortenson, the author of Three Cups of Tea, recorded the African proverb, “Educate a boy, and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community.

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