March 7

International Women’s Day
Reflection

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements from the political to the social while calling for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognized each year on March 8. The theme for this year is I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. The theme is aligned with UN Women’s multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the Beijing Platform for Action is recognized as the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere.

The global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls. Not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. Furthermore, there is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains.

The year 2020 represents an unmissable opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls.

Prayer

May all be equal in our time.

Action

Raise your own awareness and educate yourself about conditions here and around the world. Teach young girls not to accept feminine stereotypes. Teach young boys that girls are their equals. Visit UNWomen for more information in the coming months.

Suggested Reading

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.
António Guterres, UN Secretary General

Only in the last half of the twentieth century did women begin to break down educational barriers and enter new world arenas. Only then did women historians begin to uncover the unpublished, unhung, unmarketed works of women from centuries past. Only then did ideas like these ever hope to see the light in print. Now we take the words for granted, but we fail to admit that nothing much has changed as a result of them.
Joan Chittister, OSB

No force is more unstoppable than a woman with deep conviction. She’s a teacher, entrepreneur, and peacemaker. She’s an innovator, nurturer, and warrior. She’s a leader. And yet, she’s limited by circumstance.
World Relief

We want to construct a different world of work for women. As they grow up, girls must be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional service and care options to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science. We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life, grandmothers, teachers, aunts, cousins, neighbors  who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.
Michele Obama

We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.
Malala Yousafzai

Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist,’ I ask, ‘Why, what’s your problem?’
Dale Spender

The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.
Aung San Suu Kyi

It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.
Madeleine Albright

The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.
Gloria Steinem

The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.
Charles Malik

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
Gloria Steinem

We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.
Sheryl Sandberg

You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.
Jane Galvin Lewis 

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