Today is International Women’s Day. You ought to go out and celebrate your mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends and all other important women in your life. The truth is, we’ve come a long way. But, believe me, we’ve still got far to go. There are still women all over the world who are deprived of their basic human rights – the right to speak their minds, the right to an education, the right to work, the right to be whoever they want to be.
According to UNICEF, this year’s special focus is violence against women. A short video posted on the UNICEF website reminds us that: “A community is only as strong as its women. Progress is not possible when women’s rights are abused.” If you don’t have time for the video, then here are just a few stats that are sure to shock you:
- 7 out of 10 women have been victims of physical or sexual violence.
- 50% of women in developing countries believe that a husband has the right to beat his wife.
- 287,000 women die each year due to lack of proper healthcare.
- 120 million have been subject to female genital mutilation.
- 3 million girls are subjected to female genital mutilation each year. That’s 8,000 girls each day.
- More than 64 million women have been forced into marriage before their 18th birthday.
- 2/3 of the 775 million people in the world who are illiterate, are women.
The women in the following photos aren’t models, or actresses or celebrities. These are photos of women from various parts of the world, as presented on visualgeography.com. Look at their faces, into their eyes – if you can. Look at their carriage, their grace. Each one of these women has a story.
In A People’s History of the United States Howard Zinn writes: “It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country. The explorers were men, the landholders and merchants men, the political leaders men, the military figures men. The very invisibility of women, the overlooking of women, is a sign of their submerged status.” We can do better, and we will. Happy International Women’s Day.