International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1980’s. Each year on the 8th of March thousands of events worldwide are held to inspire women, celebrate achievements and raise awareness about issues relating the women rights. It is a time to reflect on the progress, call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Most importantly, International Women’s Day events try to diminish the violations of women’s rights through emancipation and educating the local communities on the issue.
International Women’s Day events 2015
Each year Global Human Rights Defence supports its partner NGOs in celebrating Internal Women’s Day events. This year, our partners held 1 event in India, 2 events in Nepal, and 1 event in Pakistan.
In India Manav Vilkas Kendra (MVK), as part of its project ‘Right to Education for Musahar Children,’ celebrated the Women’s Day through a 3-day event. The event started with campaigning for the women’s rights to expression and opinion, assembly and association, equal remuneration and health services, accompanied by rallies with local art, music and dance. The 2nd day was focused on education and counselling: parents and children in local schools were educated on the women’s rights, issues faced by women and the importance of education. During the final day local leaders spoke publicly on women empowerment.
The Village Development Foundation (VDF), aimed on eradicating gender-based discrimination and violence in the Nepalese society, also celebrated International Women’s Day. During the event, the presentation of the condition of women in Nepal was followed by an open discussion about the problems faced by Nepalese women and possible solutions. This interactive part of the programme included face-to-face contact for women with decision-making and health personnel in order to empower women to actively pursue their rights.
The Organisation for Socio-Economic Empowerment (OSED), also located in Nepal, organised female rally in Khokana that aimed at raising awareness on women rights, equality and the present status of women in Nepal. OSED has also hosted a screening of the ‘Maile Je Bhoge’ documentary, which vividly portrays the story of the empowerment of a Nepalese woman. The event was concluded with a quiz contest relating to women’s history, present situation of women, as well as national and international women’s rights. As such, the event celebrated women empowerment and encouraged women to raise their voices in the face of injustice.
In Pakistan, GHRD’s local partner, Pakistan Hindu Seva, in collaboration with Coalition for the Rights of Minorities Pakistan (CRMP) celebrated the holiday by organizing an awareness event in Samaro city of the Sindh province. The aim of the program was to create awareness about the issues women face on a daily basis and educate women on their basic rights. Special focus was given on the recent cases of forced conversions and marriages, as well as the issues of land grabbing and attacks on the worship places of minorities. Female participants were given the platform to share their concerns and discuss their role in the society.
Hope, change and much more
Awareness raising events organized by the grassroots initiatives are especially effective in spreading awareness about the issues of women, while simultaneously educating women about their rights and the necessity to actively pursue them. Such events allow for women to come together and gradually become the agents of change in their societies. GHRD and its partner NGOs have consistently worked together for the last 12 years for the eradication of human rights violations and the positive change in the marginalised communities. Projects like these give the voice to the most vulnerable groups within those societies, instilling the hope for a positive change and empowering the communities to work towards an equal and just world.