Did you know that today (3/8/2007) WAS International Women's Day?
You mean you never heard of International Women's Day?
That's not surprising. Although it seems to have originated right here in the United States around 1900, it has primarily taken root in the Socialist and Communist countries in Eastern Europe.
It's actually a legal holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The reasons this Holiday never caught on in the United States are obvious. It was the Socialist Party that began the fight for basic human rights for women. Those damned communists actually thought women should have equal rights with men. Rights like voting, owning property, holding public office and obtaining a higher education.
These ideas were, in fact, wildly unpopular in the United States of 1900. The Socialists were rabble rousers. The Communists were trouble makers. When our founding fathers so proudly decreed that "All men were created equal," they certainly didn't mean to include women in that proclamation (or slaves, if you remember).
Did you realize that the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote wasn't added to Constitution until 1920? That's only 87 years ago.
But you know what's significantly more tragic? Nearly 1/3rd of all the women in the world today still lack most basic of rights and protections. Some are held captive by restrictive and oppressive governments, others held back by religions or traditions and customs.
And, for all the progress women have made in the last 100 years, the most recent ten years or so have seen a reversal of the trends. Increasingly certain governments and religions are pushing women backwards. Laws and regulations regarding clothing, marriage, education and even basic medical care are pushing a large portion of the world's women back over 100 years.
And even worse, it has recently become a popular tactic in war to rape and enslave women as part of a terror campaign. Certainly men have always done this, but never on the scale now being experienced in the Darfur region of the Sudan.
What bothers me most is that there is no outrage. Cable news covers endless hours of Anna Nichole Smith's death, but cannot muster even a minute for the daily mass rapes of thousands of women in Africa.
Fictionalized stories of sexual slavery make for a compelling hour on Law and Order, but the real world sex slave rings, involving children as young as six, don't even attract attention on the back page of the newspaper.
International Women's Day is a day to acknowledge the achievements of women all over the world. It is a day to remember past struggles and celebrate past victories. In some countries, like the United States, women have almost achieved equality. Almost.
But we also must reflect on the ongoing battles for the rights of women everywhere.
On a day when the world is celebrating women and commemorating their struggles, I urge you to honor all women by doing what you can to protect those women who are most vulnerable.
Please consider a contribution to The Genocide Intervention Network to assist in their efforts to help the women and children in Darfur.
TECHNORATI TAGS: SAVE DARFUR INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY SUDAN SUFFRAGE WOMEN'S RIGHTS HUMAN RIGHTS DARFUR UNITED NATIONS
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