Women’s Day celebrated

Ismat Sabir

Recently, on 8th March, women’s day was celebrated, as all the nations of the world observed it. While the majority of women in the country perhaps do not know much about this, especially when accompanied by poverty. It needed to be remembered that deprivation and poverty are the worst enemies of women in the country. When food is scarce within households, it is women and children, especially girls, who suffer worst. The high malnutrition levels for women especially in Sindh and Balochistan are a glaring example of this. Women, despite the hunger and health conditions they must face, also to bear chief responsibility for childbearing, often with little control over their own bodies or over the ability to access contraceptives or make crucial decisions about their lives and those of their children.
Women also labor daily; the fact is that nearly all women work, whether or not they are paid a wage for their hard work. Women across Pakistan have organized Aurat Azadi March on that day, to push forward the idea of empowerment for women at all tiers. The march is a reminder to people in a country where perceptions about feminism are often negative that there are those who uphold its values. Workers Day was put forward by German Marxist Clara Zetkin in 1911. Soviet Russia became the first country to put this date on its calendar after 1917, when women in the country were granted the right to suffrage by the Bolsheviks.
Today, the roots of the movement are barely known even to those who march along the streets. Their efforts are important. It is also important to take the women’s movement down to the grassroots level and to peasants and workers with whom it first began. It is only with a spirit of inclusivity that the rights of all women will remain protected, not just those who have the privilege of a better education and financial comfort. Only then can women across the country truly celebrate the day with meaning and purpose.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there.
The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. Today, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.
The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day, was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. Though there have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, researchers have described this as a myth.
The following year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honoring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. In 1913 Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day.
IWD 2012
The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2012 was Empower Rural Women, End Hunger and Poverty. In that year, Oxfam America invited people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women’s Day e-Card or covering a woman whose efforts had made a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty with Oxfam’s International Women’s Day award.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2012, the ICRC called for more action to help the mothers and wives of people who have gone missing during armed conflict. The vast majority of people who go missing in connection with conflict are men. As well as the anguish of not knowing what has happened to the missing husband or son, many of these women face economic and practical difficulties. The ICRC underlined the duty of parties to a conflict to search for the missing and provide information to the families. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2013 was “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, while International Women’s Day 2013 declared the year’s theme as The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. The 2013 International Women’s Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) draw attention to the plight of women in prison.
The theme for 2019 International Women’s Day 2019 was: ‘Think equal, build smart’, innovate for change. The focus of theme was on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
Around the World
The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, for women only Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. In some countries, such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Chile, the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives, friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. flowers and small gifts. In some countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. In Russia, the day has lost all contexts through the time, becoming simply a day to honor women and feminine beauty.
In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, huge Soviet style celebrations are held annually. After the fall of Communism, the holiday, generally considered to be one of the major symbols of the old regime, fell into obscurity political right.
Status of Women in Islam
God says “We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is the believer who has Taqwa (i.e. piety and righteousness) and loves Allah most. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
“I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other (3:195)”.

On the light of those verses, Islam declares that it has not come to disadvantage women, but in fact has been revealed to elevate women ever since 1400 years ago, when women in many parts of the world and especially in the western societies were considered objects that are owned and with little to no rights in the society they live in. Before any other religion or system in the world Islam gave a woman the right to inherit, the right to vote and voice her opinion, the right to trade invest and improve herself financially, the right to own – buy and sell, the right to seek knowledge and have a good education, the right to work and has even gone further to oblige the males in every stage of her life, whether it was a father, brother or husband … It’s their duty before God to take care of her, to spend on her, to provide her with the food , clothing and shelter that she needs, to provide her with a good education, to protect her from anything that can harm her and to never hesitate to put their lives in stake for her if the need calls them to do so. “As a modern westerner with a career, of course I had to look into Islam’s attitude to women – I couldn’t be oppressed all of a sudden. But I discovered that it is pro-women and pro-men; in Islam, women had the right to vote in the year 600.
o Men dress modestly, women dress modestly; neither should flirt with the eyes, but rather they should lower their gaze. It is thought unhealthy to flaunt. Islam says “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
o In Pakistan, women are seldom included in important decisions. The exclusion comes at the back of their weaker social status despite having a legal claim on the property of their husband, father, brothers and other relation.
On most occasions women were not allowed to exercise this legal claim as their male family members transferred women’s property among themselves without their knowledge through the services of the local land clerk. Now with the increased usage of national identity card such transfers have become more difficult. So Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) conducted a research study titled ‘exploring the role of computerized national identity card (CNIC) (Citizens’ registration card) in securing women’s property rights in Pakistan’ to understand the impact of CNIC on women’s ability to acquire property and improve their stature in the society.
In 2008 the federal government of Pakistan introduced a social protection scheme called Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) for the poorest of the poor. Under this scheme a monthly stipend was given to the female member of a family and one of the pre-requisites of being eligible for BISP was possession of a CNIC. This study used applied qualitative method of research using different data collection strategies and is based on case studies of Aurat Foundation, interviews with BISP beneficiaries and available data.
According to the study the possession of CNIC among BISP beneficiaries has improved their status in their households. Therefore during marriages, inheritance and entrepreneurial activities their presence is felt and their property rights are strengthened. Furthermore based on the findings of the research study it can be said that BISP has created a space for women leadership among social circles and an opportunity to socially empower them. Lastly this program has provided women with the opportunity of freedom of movement and an active role in the civic life. For this study the author searched a direct impact of the increasing CNICs on women’s property rights in revenue offices and courts especially in family courts cases.
Data reveals that women ‘identity’ is the prime one which helps in the social empowerment of women and ensuring strong property rights. Towards the end of the study some of the problems in BISP were highlighted. According to the author the major problem regarding BISP are the execution or operational level inefficiencies of this program. According to the study BISP should join hands with other stakeholders and civil society to improve women citizens’ registration and could use its financial granting muscle in improving such enrolment. Polio vaccination could also be linked with incentives offered by BISP. This program could effectively pave way for improving women’s social space and nourishment of their social status through focusing on strengthening their property rights.
International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme “Balance for Better”.
In Islam the future of women is bright as it cares women all the time. Everyone has a part to play, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence.
Balance drives a better working world.
In Islam campaign runs all year long. It does not end on International Women’s Day. The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with Balance for Better activity reinforced and amplified all year. Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender balanced boardroom, a gender balanced government, and gender balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage.
Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender balanced world is key. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance. The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
The day is not country, group or organization specific and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. Gloria Steinem, world renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.
Facts about International Women’s Day
For more than 100 years, March 8th has marked what has come to be known as International Women’s Day in countries around the world. While its purpose differs from place to place, in some countries it’s a day of protest, in others it’s a way to celebrate the accomplishments of women and promote gender equality, the holiday is more than just a simple hash tag. The day’s origins and traditions.
On February 28, 1909, the now dissolved Socialist Party of America organized the first National Woman’s Day. In 1910, Clara Zetkin, the leader of Germany’s ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party, proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day, so that people around the world could celebrate at the same time. On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held; more than 1 million people in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark took part.
The Celebration Got Women the Vote in Russia
In 1917, women in Russia honored the day by beginning a strike for bread and peace as a way to protest World War I and advocate for gender parity. Czar Nicholas II, the country’s leader at the time, was not impressed and instructed General Khabalov of the Petrograd Military District to put an end to the protests and to shoot any woman who refused to stand down. But the women would not be intimidated and continued their protests, which led the Czar to abdicate just days later. The provisional government then granted women in Russia the right to vote.
The UN Officially Adopted International Women’s Day In 1975
In 1975, the United Nations, which had dubbed the year International Women’s Year, celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th for the first time. Since then, the UN has become the primary sponsor of the annual event and has encouraged even more countries around the world to embrace the holiday and its goal of celebrating acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
International Women’s Day is an Official Holiday in Dozens of Countries
International Women’s Day is a day of celebration around the world, and an official holiday in dozens of countries. Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Uganda, Mongolia, Georgia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, and Ukraine are just some of the places where March 8th is recognized as an official holiday.
It is a Combined Celebration with Mother’s Day in Several Places
In the same way that Mother’s Day doubles as a sort of women’s appreciation day, the two holidays are combined in some countries, including Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan. On this day, children present their mothers and grandmothers with small gifts and tokens of love and appreciation.
Each Year’s Festivities Have an Official Theme
In 1996, the UN created a theme for that year’s International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future. In 1997, it was Women at the Peace Table, then Women and Human Rights in 1998. They have continued this themed tradition in the years since; for 2019, it’s “Better the balance, better the world” or Balance for Better.
Closing Gender Gap to Boost Pakistan’s GDP By 30pc
Closing the gender gap could boost GDP in Pakistan by 30 percent, says a report the Inter-national Monetary Fund (IMF). The report Pursuing Women’s Economic Empowerment also appreciates Pakistan’s policy of using conditional cash to increase female school enrolment, noting that empirical evidence suggests educational attainment correlates positively with female labor force participation.
Using empirical data and research statistics, the study determines that women’s economic empowerment is a key to growth both through the direct impact of the size of the labor force on output and through the impact on productivity. Besides Pakistan, Guatemala, Jordan, Morocco and Nigeria have also used cash transfers targeting girls’ education, to help address gender inequality and female labor force participation, the report adds.
The IMF staff study places both India and Pakistan among the countries where enhancing financial inclusion would increase female labor force participation and entrepreneurship, support small and medium size enterprises, improve competitiveness and boost potential growth. The IMF notes that in Pakistan, Morocco and Niger inequality in inheritance rights, tax deductions or tax credits specific to men, and regulations preventing women from working at certain institutions and positions impact gender gaps in labor force participation.
The report pointed out that even developed countries like Canada and Japan can further boost their GDPs by 4 percent by empowering women. IMF researchers have determined that diversity and education can foster new ideas and thereby enhance productivity while large gender disparities in education reduce gross national product.
In countries where the female-to-male school enrolment ratio is lower than 0.75, gross national product is approximately 25 percent lower than in countries with greater gender parity in education. The IMF argues that studies by various experts provide evidence that gender gaps in education had a negative impact on economic growth in the 1990s. Also, higher economic participation by women has implications for growth in the long run and leads to greater equality in the overall income distribution.
It Is Said That Women Should Not Succeed Only At Expense That of ‘Others’
China’s women’s movement has not only survived an intense crackdown, it’s grown, argues, Leta Hong Fincher, the author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China. On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, Chinese authorities’ jailed five feminist activists for planning to hand out stickers against sexual harassment on subways and buses.
China’s leaders evidently thought they could crush a nascent feminist movement by detaining five young women, but they were sorely mistaken. News of the arrest of the “Feminist Five” spread swiftly, sparking protests and expressions of diplomatic outrage around the world.
Faced with enormous global diplomatic and social media pressure, the Chinese government released the women – Li Maizi, Zheng Churan, Wei Tingting, Wu Rongrong and Wang Man – after holding them in a detention center for 37 days. Four years later, against all odds, the fledging women’s rights movement has not only survived an intense crackdown by the government, but grown larger.
The feminist activists have cultivated a networked community numbering into the thousands, revolving around university students and graduates. They have become effective organizers and arguably pose a larger, more complicated challenge to the communist regime than the male activists who preceded them. Chinese women feel very unequal every day of their lives, and the government cannot make women oblivious to the deep injustice they feel, says Lu? Pin, the founding editor of Feminist Voices, who is completing graduate studies at SUNY Albany.

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