International Women's Day observed

International Women's Day observed

Islamabad (Web Desk/Agencies): International Women's Day was observed on Tuesday across the world including Pakistan with the aim to promote gender equality and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This year's theme of the day is "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow".

On this occasion, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for defending women’s rights.

In his message released Monday on the eve of International Women’s Day, the UN chief said that the world “cannot emerge from the (coronavirus) pandemic with the clock spinning backwards on gender equality”.

The UN chief highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the pandemic, hailed the ideas, innovations and activism that are changing the world for the better, and welcomed more women leaders across all walks of life.

Addressing an event on the eve of International Women's Day in Islamabad, President Dr Arif Alvi stressed the need of financial inclusion of women to ensure their economic empowerment in society.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam which gives many rights to women.

Addressing a ceremony in Rawalpindi's Fatima Jinnah University in connection with International Women's Day on Tuesday, the premier said that the government has made laws that protect women's rights but it is the society that has to implement them.

"As the laws have been created, the administration, women and everyone else has a role to play in raising awareness on women’s rights and their protection, " PM Imran said.

Stressing on the education, PM Imran said when women are educated they have the ability to uplift their families.

Meanwhile, ministers and political leaders shared their messages on International Women's Day with a renewed pledge to work for the betterment of women's rights.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said it was a day to honour women from all walks of life, adding it was also the right of every woman to demand rights and work for her development.

In his message, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif thanked women for their services and contributions to society.

"From Marie Curie to Fatima Jinnah, the female icons charted a way forward & proved their mettle in every field of life," the PML-N leader tweeted.

Senator Sherry Rehman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) congratulated women and said it was due to collective endeavours that all women were now able to fight for their rights.

"Don't lose hope. We will ensure that our rights are accepted, no matter how much time it takes," she said in a video message.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that every woman is the epitome of strength and courage.

Historical background of International Women's Day

According to the University of Chicago website for women's programmes, the move for the International Women's Day started in 1907, when 15,000 women workers in the textile industry walked in a march through New York, demanding shorter work hours, fair pay and lending their voice to the already growing clamour for suffrage for women. The demonstrators also commemorated police brutality on a similar women workers' demonstration in 1857.

On 28 February, 1909, the first national Woman's Day was celebrated in the United States of America. Novelist and social reformist Charlotte Perkins Gilman addressed a gathering in which she made the stirring claim, "It is true that a woman's duty is centered in her home and motherhood but home should mean the whole country."

While women gained prominence in political arenas, it was the World Wars that gave the day its present form. Wars were largely considered men's domain and in the tension-ridden atmosphere of the days preceding World War I, Russia saw some of its biggest all-women campaigns for peace.

As the World War I looked to end and the Russian Revolution was set to begin in 1917, women in Russia led a massive demonstration under feminist leader Alexandra Kollontai, on the last Sunday in February on the Soviet calendar. The day is 8 March according to the Gregorian calendar. In 1922, Lenin officially designated it as Women's Day.

By 1975, the 8 March date had gained popularity enough for the United Nations to designate it as International Women's Day. Two years later, the UN's General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a "United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national tradition."

Significance of Women's Day

International Women's Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. With no religious or regional connotations defining it, the day is universally accepted as one where women of all race, colour, nationality and age are celebrated.

There is a public holiday today in Russia, China, Vietnam and Bulgaria, where the women are considered as symbol of ‘struggle’.