Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated globally, this holiday commemorates the accomplishments of women and calls for their political, economic, and social empowerment. The idea of IWD was initially conceived at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. In 1911, the first IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Nearly 100 years later, this day is observed in over 60 countries world-wide.
Since 1975, International Women’s Day has been officially sponsored by the United Nations. IWD 2010 is focused on drawing attention to the hardship displaced women endure. Displacement is one of the greatest consequences of armed conflict, affecting women in a host of ways. But far from being helpless victims, women are resourceful, resilient and courageous in the face of hardship. This year we are celebrating women’s resilience.
Here in Congo, thousands of women will stand together to demand peace and development. We will be joined by women in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria and the United States, as we gather on bridges to demonstrate that women can build the bridges of peace and hope. “RAISE hope for Congo” has organized various Join me on the Bridge events throughout the world. Would you come alongside me on a bridge near you? (Milwaukee: Maryland Avenue pedestrian bridge, 11am)
“International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. “
Sources: International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations, International Museum of Women, Women for Women International