The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), in collaboration with its global membership and affiliates, is pleased to join with other organizations, associations, agencies, groups and individuals in observance of the 43rd anniversary of United Nations declared International Women’s Day in 2018.
The seeds were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. The idea to make the day international came from Clara Zetkin who suggested the idea of International Women’s Day in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed unanimously. It was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we’re technically celebrating the 108th International Women’s Day. It became official in 1975 when the United Nations (UN) started celebrating the day and setting an annual theme.
This year’s theme is #PressforProgress. UN figures show that only half of working age women are represented in the labour force globally. International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics and in economics, while the political roots of the day mean strikes and protests are organized to raise awareness of continued inequality.
“Today’s woman need to be better educated, be assertive and to be able to provide the best that we can for ourselves and our families. Effectively, woman should be treated as equals at home, the work place and in society as a whole and all year round and not just one day of year on International Women’s Day. We should be treated with respect and dignity without suffering abuse of any kind. Women are the backbone of our country and they are phenomenal human beings. The amazing woman is making our society a better place and making strides in our community despite their difficulties” – Rita Abraham, Chair of IDC’s Women’s Forum.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, may we all be reminded that our collective movement toward gender parity should be stronger than ever. We cannot afford to be complacent with the progress we already have. We are still far from total gender equality particularly in less developed countries. Our voices should never wane nor soften until we are heard loud and clear. Gender parity isn’t only for those of us struggling to find our place today but for also the young women who are looking to us for direction and hope. We need to be united on all fronts so that we may hand over a future that is grounded on fairness and equality—a future that not only sees beyond gender limitations but also eliminates them. Together we Press For Progress!” – Shadel Nyack Compton, IDC Coordinator (Grenada); Managing Dir., Belmont Estate Group of Companies St. Patrick, Grenada, West Indies.
“In celebrating women’s achievements from the right to vote, to own property and many other rights, there is a need to continue to commemorate the struggle for equality and the demand for social and political rights. While the voice of women is important in her expression of the unpopular, the voice of men must also be heard in their support for a woman’s many roles in all aspects of society. Thus, this will recognize that, although women have progressed in many aspects of life, she continues to struggle and deal with harassment and bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and marginalization” – Janet Naidu, Poet and Writer, Canada.
“Women are mothers, sisters, daughters and most of all, they are leaders. They multi task whenever necessary to fulfill these roles in addition to the demands of society. Women take pride in all that they are presented with and accept responsibility without hesitation as they embrace being pillars of our society. They embody resilience, autonomy, confidence yet they are unafraid to be shy or vulnerable. On this day, let’s honor and celebrate the strength of women who have paved the way for growth, motivation and empowerment of others as well as their bold ability to effect social change” – Sharla Khari, PhD, Director, IDC Community Based Rehabilitation.
“A lot of progress have been achieved by women all over the world through determined advocacy, practical action and enlightened policy making, yet women are still treated like second-class citizens and are still fighting against dehumanization and are widely marginalized within the corridor of power. We can still witness the abuse of girl child, raping minor girls and women, sexual harassment in places of work, domestic violence, battered women, facing injustice, stereotyping of women, rise in divorce rate, living in the cycle of poverty, and facing many diseases. Mostly we have seen women are largely underrepresented at most levels of government and have made little progress in attaining political power in legislative bodies. Although women make up at least half of the electorate in almost all countries and have attained right to vote, women still continue to be seriously underrepresented as candidates for legislative and local government elections because the traditional working patterns of many political parties and government structures continue to be barriers to women’s participation in public life. These issues have to be given urgent consideration by giving empowerment and autonomy to women thus leading to the improvement of women’s social, economic, and political status. Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspectives at all levels, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved” – Kritilata Ram, IDC Coordinator, Mauritius.
“We pay homage to all women who struggled for their rights and equitable treatment, and persevered under very harsh conditions and obstacles to achieve respect and dignity. Women have made significant advances in almost all segments of society yet there remain many hurdles to overcome and many obstacles to be removed for women to advance and achieve full potential and bring about equity at all levels. Women account for more than 50% of the population of the world while their untapped resources of talent, skills, aspirations and skills can help society as a whole. IDC’s Women’s Forum has taken many initiatives on women’s issues and women of the Indian Diaspora must be encouraged to advance this agenda forward and be examples to women of the developed and developing world” – Ashook Ramsaran, President, IDC.