35th International Women’s Day: "We still have a long way to go"

Keywords : Newsletters Gender Equality

35th International Women’s Day: "We still have a long way to go"

Every 8th March, the international community celebrates women’s day. This day, which is a holiday in some countries, is dedicated to all the women who have achieved a lot. The theme chosen in 2012 emphasizes the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.

The beginning of this day goes back to 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 8th March as the international day for women’s rights. The celebration of this day proceeded through the 20th century social movements in Europe and the US and the recent revolutions in the Arab world. However, women’s struggle for equal rights, better working conditions and wages, etc., still has a long way to go.

The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban KI-MOON also called on this occasion, governments, civil society and the private sector to "invest in rural women", "eliminate discrimination against them" and "guarantee them equal access to resources."

The theme for this year is justified by the fact that in Africa, rural women represent one quarter of the population and 70% of the agricultural sector workforce. However, they are excluded from decision-making processes, cannot enjoy resources, are quite often discriminated against and abused by men. In most countries across the continent, women have organised their activities to expose this sad reality.

In Togo, women of the OBUTS political party attended on March 8, 2012 a training seminar on the role of women in the decentralization policy in Togo. After analysing the human rights situation of women in particular and the socio-political situation of their country, these women forwarded to the President of the Republic, a 20-point demand including health, education and human rights concerns.

"For Femmes Solidaires, the respect for human rights and a significant improvement of women’s status and their effective involvement in the decision-making bodies are undeniable prequisites for peace and security in the world." "It is only under this condition that solidarity and collective prosperity will become through love daily realities in our world which is more than ever before searching for meanings, values, freedom and well-being", they said.

In Côte d’Ivoire, women wrote in a white booklet all of their concerns and forwarded them to the Government through the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire Guillaume SORO during an official ceremony. According to the White Booklet, the women of Côte d’Ivoire intend to achieve political equality between men and women, achieve equal opportunities in the public service, in the army and the gendarmerie and advocate for a regulatory economic and financial framework which will be favourable to women and contribute to the emergence of strong female entrepreneurs. On this occasion, twenty women from various economic sectors were made Knights of the Order of Merit.

"No matter whether they are ministers, managing directors, rural women and housewives, women have always been hardworking", said Guillaume Soro.

In Cameroon, thousands of women from all walks of life marched in the streets, wearing their finest clothes and smiling all the way. However, their smiles could barely conceal the concerns of this social group which is over fifty percent of the population. For Cameroonian women’s human rights associations, this day is a symbolic day and women should be aware of it.

The celebration of the International Women’s Day is an opportunity for women to reflect on their role in society because they are key people in this world.

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