Hivos partners out in force on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2013

Hivos works with frontrunners of change and social justice to further women’s rights and advocate for new laws protecting women against discrimination and sexual and domestic violence. Today, many of these partners are celebrating International Women’s Day with marches, events, debates and special publications. Here are the activities planned by some of them.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) is co-organising a march through New York, ‘For a Life Free from Violence Against Women and Girls!’, to be joined by many organisations attending the fifty-seventh session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Hivos partners Just Associates (JASS) and the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) are amonst the many co-sponsors, and the International Women’s Rights Actions Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP) and Women Leaving Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are joining it.

Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) is convening a panel on the need for equal citizenship rights to fight gender-based violence and discrimination in the MENA region, and our South African partner Gender Links is holding a Gender-Based Violence networking meeting and cyberlink to CSW.

Justice For Iran (JFI), a partner that aims to end the systematic use of sexual abuse of women as a method of extracting confessions, amongst other human rights violations in Iran, has issued a call to action at the 57th CSW for an immediate end to stoning. Stoning is a flagrant violation of human rights and a most cruel form of torture that disproportionately affects women.

Internationally recognised specialist on gender and sports, Women Win, is celebrating the day by launching the ‘International Guide to Addressing Girls’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Through Sport’, designed to improve sport programmes for girls through the addition of quality sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and practices.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Gender Platform WO=MEN (“women equals men”) is organising a political debate on 8 March in the House of Representatives to discuss the position of women in Dutch foreign policy. WO=MEN is also blogging from the CSW in New York in English and Dutch.

Farther afield, Hivos partner WADI in Iraqi Kurdistan is joining the Zhyan group in a demonstration in Sulaimanyah in which some fifty women’s organisations will present a petition to the Kurdistan parliament entitled ‘No bargaining about women`s rights and issues’ (link in right sidebar). 5000 copies of the new issue of WADI’s Kurdish-language Women’s Rights newspaper will also be distributed throughout Iraqi Kurdistan.

These partners in India will be organising events to mark International Women’s Day: the Single Women’s Network in Rajasthan, the Campaign for Dignity in Madhya Pradesh and STEPs in Tamil Nadu. You can read a report on their activities on next week.

Finally, on this International Women’s Day, Hivos would like to call particular attention to the struggles of the women of Syria. They have sacrificed their families and lives in the pursuit of freedom, democracy and dignity for all Syrians. Syrian women inside the country and abroad are working hard to ensure full equality now and in the post-Assad era, and we honour them today for their efforts.