March 8, 2011
A girl waits for aid to be distributed at a
village in eastern
We can fly to the moon, but can't seem to put an end to gender-based violence.
It shocks, disappoints and angers me that in a world where man has travelled to the moon and where we can connect to people anywhere on earth instantly online, men and women are still not equal.
The statistics are sobering. Across the globe, gender-based violence causes more deaths and disabilities among women of child-bearing age than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
Even in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, it's safer to be a soldier than a woman.
Women do two-thirds of the world's work for a paltry 10 per cent of the world's income, and own just 1 per cent of the means of production. Until recently, in the British Parliament, there were more men called David and Nick than female MPs. On the centenary of International Women's Day, I urge you to stop and think.
Last year, I did just that. I attended the
Yes, huge gains have been made since 1911, but we still have a mountain to climb. We need to persevere with this for the sake of our daughters, our granddaughters, and the generations to come.
Motivated and inspired, I became convinced that collectively we could make a loud noise. I want this year's centenary celebrations for International Women's Day to be a turning point, a catalyst for tangible and positive change.
Despite the fact that half the world's population is female, women's rights have become marginalised as a ''minority issue''. Many young women feel that the label ''feminist'' is, at best, irrelevant to their lives and, at worst, a stigma to be avoided at all costs.
The concept of feminism and its principles of equality and anti-sexism need to be refreshed and reclaimed by a new generation.
We should embrace Feminism. From
Whether you're a woman or a man, this affects you. And you are part of the solution. The impact of inequality is felt by every woman worldwide - your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbours, the people you emailed today, the woman in the car next to you, the faces you saw on television and the voices you heard on the radio.
How many have been abused or faced discrimination today? The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day is a moment in time. Let's make it a moment that counts. Let's make it a moment that lasts.