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The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.
— Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
This year, International Women’s Day falls on Saturday, March 8th. IWD has its roots the Socialist Party of America and was first conceived of as an international celebration at the second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen in 1910.
IWD is now celebrated all over the world as a day of hope and celebration. This year’s theme is “Equality for women is progress for all.” To see what the UN has planned for this celebration, visit their website.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on our progress, make sure our issues are addressed, and celebrate the courage and determination of women, girls, and the men who support their fight for equality. We all have extraordinary roles to play in the history of our countries and communities.
At the 2013 Partnerships against Poverty Summit, we offered a workshop on women and microfinance called “Gender Challenges: Confronting The Issues Women Face in Microfinance.” Roshaneh Zafar (Kashf Foundation in Pakistan), Carmen Velasco (founder of Pro Mujer), and others spoke about the achievements of women in banking as well as the challenges we’re still facing.
Listen to the audio recording
“I am looking at the history of microfinance,” said Ms. Velasco, “which started with women. There were changes because we are learning all the time. Now men are coming in and also taking over. I know that women have been begging us for years to focus on this gender issue.”
And, Ms. Zafar said, “Many men are doing a lot of participation and it is a very sensitive point. Microfinance is like a welfare activity or seen as charity or a woman business or issue. As soon as they begin to peak in numbers, men [flooded in] and took over and growing in numbers (sample case like in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador). So I think we have to be very aware. And if you follow or if you visit the Universal Standard Social Performance Task that we are developing, a lot is being done to be more reactive and to do things in order to avoid this.”
And, a final message from Google
More Resources for International Women’s Day
I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to, and I’ve made enough money to support myself, and ain’t afraid of being alone.
— Katherine Hepburn, American actress
Watch the message from UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
- The Guardian, “International Women’s Day Has an Unexpected History“
- International Women’s Day 2014: Mothers and daughters around the world – in pictures
- International Labour Organization (ILO), “Women at work – where we are, where we want to be“; watch this interview with Vinita Bali, managing director of Britannia Industries in India: