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International Women’s Day: Eight actionable areas for women’s empowerment

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By Arpit Gupta

Today i.e. March 8, marks the 108th observance of International Women’s Day that celebrates the social, economic, and political achievements of all women across the globe.

The roots of this celebration of feminity can be traced back to 1909 when women across America, marched for their better social status and equality on February 28. The event was known as National Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was initiated two years later in 1911 after Luis Zietz, a German socialist, stressed on the need for a global celebration of the event at a socialist International meeting in Copenhagen in 1910.

Even though many measures have been implemented for the empowerment of women in the last 100 years, still there are many issues facing women, which are yet to be tackled. Here are the eight important things that need to be done for women’s empowerment:

1. No violence against women: Violence against women is an affront to the foundation of fundamental rights, women’s dignity, and their decency. Even today rape and sexual violence are very frequent and their perpetrators are getting indirect support of their communities. Men and boys have a critical role to play in reversing the pandemic of violence against women.

2. Justice and security for women: Laws are there for women, but they need to be enforced within legal frameworks. Women need to know their rights and be able to access legal systems. Customs, traditions, or religious beliefs should never serve as an excuse or as justification for any abusive act against women.

3. Expansion of women’s participation and leadership: Women need skills and motivation to lead their lives on their own terms and contribute to all sectors of society. Women are often denied access to business transaction, land ownership, etc. This could be rectified by allowing women equal opportunities in all spheres of life and imparting them skills to take up leadership roles.

4. Involvement of women in all peace processes: Women must be involved in all stages of peace talks as negotiators. Peace agreement offers opportunities for inclusiveness, democratic reform, and gender equality. Gender provisions must be included in peace agreements and given priority.

5. Promotion of gender equality in disaster risk reduction: Women need to be incorporated in the analysis of disaster risk and in designing risk reduction process.

6. Promotion of women as leaders: Women should be given equal opportunities for livelihood, including access to land and credit. Rebuilding in key sectors such as transportation, shelter and health must benefit women. They should be groomed to take up leadership in various initiatives, as well as to innovate and become entrepreneurs.

7. Transformation of government to deliver for women: There is a need to engage women in the decision making process on government policies and resource mobilization.

8. Working together to transform society: Women organizations and networks need to be united in their work towards empowering women.

We must all be dedicated to give women, their rights and make them walk along with men not behind them

The author is an undergraduate student pursuing Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Roorkee. His twitter handle is: @Arpit2476667

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Women Are Rarely “Put Front And Center” At The Heart Of Climate Action

Feminism doesn't mean excluding men

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Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017.
Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017. VOA

Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and U.N. rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday.

Robinson, also a former U.N. climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely “put front and center” of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

“Climate change is a man-made problem and must have a feminist solution,” she said at a meeting of climate experts at London’s Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.

“Feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and – in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change.”

Research has shown that women’s vulnerabilities are exposed during the chaos of cyclones, earthquakes and floods, according to the British think-tank Overseas Development Institute.

In many developing countries, for example, women are involved in food production, but are not allowed to manage the cash earned by selling their crops, said Robinson.

Earth depletion
Earth depletion, Pixabay

The lack of access to financial resources can hamper their ability to cope with extreme weather, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the event.

“Women all over the world are … on the front lines of the fall-out from climate change and therefore on the forefront of climate action,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, executive director of Britain’s United Nations Association.

“What we — the international community — need to do is talk to them, learn from them and support them in scaling up what they know works best in their communities,” she said at the meeting.

Also read: Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

Robinson served as Irish president from 1990-1997 before taking over as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice. (VOA)