9 March 2016

On day celebrating women, reminder of lingering gender gap

Indian women listen to a speaker during a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
International Women's Day on Tuesday celebrated women and their accomplishments, but it also offered a stark reminder of the gender divides in rights, representation and pay.

The day carried the theme "Pledge for Parity" — a phrase and hashtag born out of the World Economic Forum's recent projection that the progress on achieving global gender parity is slowing.

Google's home page on Tuesday featured a video of women and girls dreaming and doing big things. Twitter and Facebook feeds filled with quotes from inspirational women and calls to action.


But the U.N. cultural agency also offered sobering statistics: More than 63 million girls are excluded from school in more than 200 countries across the world. Almost 16 million girls between the ages of 6 and 11 — compared with about 8 million boys — will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school "if current trends continue," according to a report from UNESCO's Institute for Statistics.

Women also account for 70 percent of the world's hungry, the U.N. reported, in part because longstanding discrimination has limited their access to food.

President Barack Obama, a father of two daughters, said in a statement that allowing women and girls around the world to rise and achieve their full potential will mean "a brighter, more peaceful and more prosperous future for us all."
An elderly Indian woman listens to a speaker as she participates in a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.


Hillary Clinton, vying to become the country's first woman president, tweeted Tuesday that advancing the status of women and girls will make economies grow and nations more secure.

"It's the right — and smart — thing to do," she wrote.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed empowering women as he spoke of preventable deaths during child birth and those who are subjected to "genital mutilation."

Actress Emma Watson, kicking off a weeklong U.N. arts event aimed at initiating a dialogue about gender, said it's not enough for people to rationally understand the necessity of gender equality.

"It's also about making them feel it in their bones," she said.

Some countries treat the day as a holiday, and women could be seen on a sunny Tuesday in the Romanian capital carrying flowers, the traditional gift. Elsewhere in Bucharest, women brandished a banner saying "March 8 is for fighting."
Women's rights activists take selfies with Tribal activist-turned-politician Soni Sori and a victim of an acid attack, center with face covered, during a protest march on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.


In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for only female lawmakers to address parliament on Tuesday included silence because there weren't enough women to speak. Of the 543 elected members in India's lower house, 12 percent are women.

In China, International Women's Day is treated as a one-off where state media are fond of publishing photo galleries of "Beautiful Women Reporters" covering a ceremonial legislature.

The Communist Party-run People's Daily made no mention of leadership roles in a front-page editorial Tuesday that said women "can not only help to make homes more pleasant and lively, but also contribute their valuable female perspective and efforts to the progress of the entire society."

(AP) 
Women's rights activists shout slogans as they march on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which reserves Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
Women's rights activists shout slogans as they march on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which reserves Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands. 
Women's rights activists hold placards as they participate in a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
Women's rights activists hold placards as they participate in a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
Women's rights activists hold banners and placards as they march on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
Women's rights activists hold banners and placards as they march on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that the Women's Reservation Bill, which would reserve Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands. 
An Indian woman laborer carries a sack of vegetable at a wholesale market on the International Women’s Day, in Jammu Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
An Indian woman laborer carries a sack of vegetable at a wholesale market on the International Women’s Day, in Jammu Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Women's rights activists hold banners and placards as they mach on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that Women's Reservation Bill, which reserves Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands.
Women's rights activists hold banners and placards as they mach on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Activists were demanding that Women's Reservation Bill, which reserves Indian legislative seats for women, be passed by the Parliament among other demands. 
Polish women hold tulips on International Women’s Day in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The day celebrates women, their achievements and their continued struggle for equality.
Polish women hold tulips on International Women’s Day in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. The day celebrates women, their achievements and their continued struggle for equality.
Palestinian girls attend an event for International Women's Day in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Palestinian girls attend an event for International Women's Day in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Pakistani classical dancer Sheema Kermani , right, performs with her students to celebrate International Women's Day in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Pakistani classical dancer Sheema Kermani , right, performs with her students to celebrate International Women's Day in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Women balance their staples on their heads as they make their way through the Croix-des-Bossales market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Tuesday marks International Women's Day, observed annually worldwide on March 8, celebrating women's achievements in all walks of life.
Women balance their staples on their heads as they make their way through the Croix-des-Bossales market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Tuesday marks International Women's Day, observed annually worldwide on March 8, celebrating women's achievements in all walks of life.
A women holds a poster with a message that reads in Spanish, "We are the other half, We want equality, all men , nd all women for the Law of Equality," in front of the National Congress building, during a protest demanding a law for equality in political representation, marking International Women's Day in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
A women holds a poster with a message that reads in Spanish, "We are the other half, We want equality, all men , nd all women for the Law of Equality," in front of the National Congress building, during a protest demanding a law for equality in political representation, marking International Women's Day in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
A 14 year-old Myanmar girl carries three bags of powdered-limestone to load in to a boat on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, on International Women’s Day in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Migrant workers living along Ayeyarwaddy riverbank earn bout 5000 Kyats (US Dollar 4) a day for loading and unloading goods.
A 14 year-old Myanmar girl carries three bags of powdered-limestone to load in to a boat on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, on International Women’s Day in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Migrant workers living along Ayeyarwaddy riverbank earn bout 5000 Kyats (US Dollar 4) a day for loading and unloading goods.
Myanmar women unload logs from a boat on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, on International Women’s Day in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Migrant workers living along Ayeyarwaddy riverbank earn bout 5000 Kyats (US Dollar 4) a day for loading and unloading goods.
Myanmar women unload logs from a boat on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River, on International Women’s Day in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Migrant workers living along Ayeyarwaddy riverbank earn bout 5000 Kyats (US Dollar 4) a day for loading and unloading goods.
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at Union Market in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, to announce private sector commitments in support of Let Girls Learn and in celebration of International Women's Day.
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at Union Market in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, to announce private sector commitments in support of Let Girls Learn and in celebration of International Women's Day.
Indian women shout slogan during a protest against increasing atrocities on women on International Women's Day in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Indian women shout slogan during a protest against increasing atrocities on women on International Women's Day in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
Indian woman Bileswari Deka, 42, carries her three years old daughter Sagarika, sleeping on her back, and collects money from a man as she sells country liquor on the bank of the River Brahmaputra on International Women’s Day in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Deka is still recovering after she suffered severe burn injuries on her left hand in a cooking gas cylinder blast last year.
Indian woman Bileswari Deka, 42, carries her three years old daughter Sagarika, sleeping on her back, and collects money from a man as she sells country liquor on the bank of the River Brahmaputra on International Women’s Day in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Deka is still recovering after she suffered severe burn injuries on her left hand in a cooking gas cylinder blast last year.

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