Happy International Women’s Day

CBCNews_IWD

Image from CBCNews.ca, photograph by Andrew Biraj (Reuters)

Happy International Women’s Day.

CBC News has a beautiful and very moving slide show of various International Women’s Day celebrations and protests around the world (above). The International Women’s Day website, the United Nations (U.N.), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) all celebrate the day with varying themes and foci each year with International Women’s Day declaring the 2013 theme as “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.” The U.N. declared International Women’s Day 2013 as “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The I.C.R.C.’s focus is the plight of female prisoners whom, due to their gender, “often face particular hardship in terms of protection, privacy and access to basic services, including health care.”

Here are some positive developments towards gender equality in recent news:

The United States renewed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last week, a federal law with the purpose of investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women, and establishing the Office on Violence Against Women in the country’s Department of Justice. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law yesterday after facing opposition in the House of Representatives by conservative leaders who objected to extending the protections to LGBTQ victims and Native American women. The law was originally drafted by Vice President Joe Biden when he was a Delaware senator, which passed in 1994.

South Korea elected Park Geun-hye has the first female president of the country on December 19, 2012, and who was inauguarated last week on February 25, 2013. While Park, 61, was voted in by 51% of South Koreans, she remains divisive as the daughter of Park Chung-hee, considered a father of modern Korea who ruled the country for 18 years before being assassinated in 1979. Best of luck to President Park.

Lastly and on a lighter note, comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler continue to be awesome ambassador for the modern feminist movement, seen in their kerfuffle with country queen Taylor Swift. Swift, in a recent interview with the magazine Vanity Fair, was asked about Fey and Poehler’s joke at the Golden Globes awards where the ceremony’s co-hosts poked fun at Swift’s proclivity to write songs about her exes. Taylor, who does not consider herself a feminist, replied, “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ ” In response, Poehler said, “I feel bad if she [Swift] was upset. I am a feminist, and she is a young and talented girl. That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.” What is interesting about this minor celebrity clashing of heads is that Fey and Poehler, who are proud feminists, think that Taylor should just take a joke while Taylor, who has publicly dismissed feminism, is invoking feminism only when it is convenient for her. C’mon, Taylor Swift. Are you truly against equality between the sexes — when she clearly is not — because you do not like the feminist label?

Here is to another year in our attempts to achieve equality between the sexes and gender. And do not forget that International Men’s Day is coming up in a few months on November 19th.

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