2012 Theme: CONNECTING GIRLS, INSPIRING FUTURES If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally. Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” is the 2012 theme of the website and this has been widely used by hundreds of organisations including schools, universities, governments, women’s groups and the private sector.

Each year the United Nations declares an overall International Women’s Day theme. Their 2012 theme is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. Many organisations develop their own themes that are more relevant to their local contexts. For example, the European Parliament’s 2012 theme is “Equal pay for work of equal value”. (credit to International Womens Day site on internet for the above logo & stats)

As I was reading through the blogs I follow today, there seemed to be a theme going today, how do we pass on good values to our daughters?  There was also a lot of talk about the American Presidential election where it seems some of the candidates have chosen platforms reducing the rights of women.

Unfortunately I don’t have the answers to these questions, I wish I did.  But it is my hope by bringing the topic to the forefront of people’s minds, by starting & continuing conversations on these topics, someone with the brains to come up with a good idea will emerge to lead us in the right direction.  In my generation we had Helen Gurley Brown & Gloria Steinham to take up the torch of women’s rights & keep it shining like a beacon for women to follow.  Where are the women like them in this generation?  Who will stand up to the politicians who want to restrict our rights?  People may look back at some of the antics women got up to in the 60’s & 70’s & laugh – how does burning a bra give anyone power?  It wasn’t burning the bra, but the symbol of the bra.  If you could have seen the horrendously ugly torture garments women were subjected to – you’d want to burn them too!  Sorry, this was supposed to be serious & my brain took a flight of fancy there!

I’m afraid the women of the younger generation, who have always had the right to vote, the right to equal pay for equal work (even though it’s not always applied – the concept is out there), the right to control their own bodies & decide if & when they want to have children, may not realize how bad things can get if we allow people (politicians) to erode our rights even a little bit.   These rights were paid for by the women of the generations ahead of you who worked in sweat factories because it was the only type of work a woman could get, women who were chased around their secretarial desk by the male boss because he had power over you, women who died early because they wore themselves out with pregnancy after pregnancy because there was no access to birth control, women who were beaten in their own homes & had no recourse if they didn’t want their children to starve.  Some of these things happened in my generation!

I can only urge women who read this to discuss this with your friends & keep the topic fresh in women’s minds.  How could we explain to our daughters if we let some of these hard won rights be taken away?