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article imageOp-Ed: March 8 is International Women's Day

By KJ Mullins     Mar 7, 2011 in World
On Tuesday the world the 100th International Women's Day. The world has changed since 1911 when only two nations allowed their women the right to vote. Today women are world leaders and yet there is still much to achieve.
This year the theme of the day is Girl's Rights Matter.
In Canada there are 67 women in the House of Commons. women make up the majority on Canadian college campuses. Over 74 percent of adult women are in the work force and 35 percent are self-employed. Canada's women are lucky compared to others world-wide. There is no fear of giving birth to a child or not being allowed to learn how to read.
One hundred years ago International Women's Day was a Socialist political event first observed in Germany after a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Six years later Russian women used the event to began a strike for "bread and peace" protesting the soldiers that their nation had lost in war. By the next year the day had become a global celebration with the United Nations working for women's rights.
Women have made great strives in the past 100 years yet they still face hurdles. Girls and women still do not have access to nutritious food, face sexual abuse, low pay and lack of education. Two out of every illiterate adult is a woman.
The backbone of our world's families, women still go hungry. Malnourished women are more likely to die in childbirth or give birth to a child already hungry. The cycle of poverty goes on generation after generation.
"This is a critical time for the world's poor - especially the woman and girls. In Canada we are feeling the pinch in our own pocketbooks as we see an increase in food prices in our own supermarkets. For the world's poor, these price increases can mean life and death. Women and girls are already the most marginalized group when it comes to food insecurity, despite the critical role that they play in cultivating and preparing food for their families. They need access to more nutritious food and they must be empowered as part of the response to this crisis." - Caroline Riseboro, Vice President of Public Affairs, World Vision Canada
Michelle Bachelet,
Executive Director, UN Women stated in a statement released today, "A hundred years ago today, women across the world took an historic step on the long road to equality. The first ever International Women's Day was called to draw attention to the unacceptable and often dangerous working conditions that so many women faced worldwide. Although the occasion was celebrated in only a handful of countries, it brought over one million women out onto the streets, demanding not just better conditions at work but also the right to vote, to hold office and to be equal partners with men.
I suspect those courageous pioneers would look at our world today with a mixture of pride and disappointment. There has been remarkable progress as the last century has seen an unprecedented expansion of women's legal rights and entitlements. Indeed, the advancement of women's rights can lay claim to be one of the most profound social revolutions the world has seen."
As the world looks at the role women play globally we must remember the steps and hurdles achieved while aiming to break the ones still in place.
Education and food is a right for all, not just the most powerful. The right to be able to express one self should not hinge on what sex they were born. The right to employment for both men and women needs to be an open playing field regardless where they reside.
We can not wait another 100 years for all citizens of the world to have the same basic fundamental rights.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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