March 8 is International Women’s Day – and this year’s theme is Pledge for Parity.
International Women’s Day marks the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
Women all over the world have important stories to tell and have a right to have their voices heard.
Women are still under-represented at a decision-making level cross the world, from parliaments to employment.
And women who lead the way are still rebuked and even attacked – in our own time, we have seen 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai shot in Pakistan by the Taliban for championing women’s education.
In the UK, there was a furore after calls for the writer Jane Austen to be featured on a bank note – women supporting the proposal were verbally abused online and threatened with rape and violence, in some cases by other women.
Women as much as men are constantly at the front line of life – and yet globally many women are still denied a voice and the right to make their own decisions about their lives and those of their children.
Women should not have to demand education or the right to feature on a bank note.
We all have stories to tell. Let’s tell them and support other women in telling their stories. Stories are important – and it is only by telling the truth that change can occur.
We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.
One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
We long for Saturdays because that means books…Ordinary people don’t know how much books can mean to someone who’s cooped up. Our only diversions are reading, studying and listening to the wireless.
Anne Frank, aged 14 (The Diary of Anne Frank , 11 July 1943)
I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
International Women’s Day in Rome – Festa della Donna
Image: Statue on the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, Rome
In Italy, International Women’s Day is marked with a spray of yellow mimosa given as a gift to women.
On March 8 to celebrate Festa della Donna, women will have free admission to museums and archeological sites across Rome. Rome will also pay tribute to Italian film director Lina Wertmüller, the first woman to receive an Academy Award for her 1975 film Pasqualino Settebellezze (Seven Beauties). A public interview with Lina Wertmüller at the Teatro di Villa Torlonia will be followed by a screening of a documentary about her life, Dietro gli occhiali bianchi.
Read Amnesty International’s 6 reasons why we still need International Women’s Day