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Gender theme for Women’s Day

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The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum is the official theme for International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The rape and death of a trainee physiotherapist in Delhi, and the Taliban shooting of Malala Yousafzai have focused global attention, but thousands more stories of gender violence and discrimination affecting the daily lives of women remain unreported.

A CNN report spotlights how discrimination begins in the womb; in an interview a woman describes the pressure she resisted to abort her four daughters.

This week also saw the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Zero Tolerance For Female Genital Mutilation; up to 140 million women have undergone this procedure throughout the world.

As the Brighton and Hove group of International Women’s Day (IWD) say on their website: ‘Gender-based violence causes more deaths and disabilities among women worldwide, aged 15-44, than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war, and three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, trafficking, forced marriage or other violence each year’.

Britain is placed 57th in the world for political gender equality, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, with Rwanda topping the league for having the highest percentage of female politicians.

On Twitter, UK politicians openly joke about wives obeying their ‘master’ – as Jane Martinson pointed out: “It would be nice if women coping with rape and sexual assault didn’t have to see their elected political representative going to such lengths to publicly declare, “Not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion,” as Galloway did.”

The aim of International Women’s Day (IWD), which has been running annually for more than 100 years, is to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women and highlight issues affecting them.

A spokesperson for IWD said more details about the Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum will be released in the days leading up to March 8, but that groups are free to choose their own theme as well with the IWD website collating them all together.

Among several activities organised by Brighton and Hove group is Pink Ribbons Inc, a seminar on Breast Cancer Awareness as well as a grand finale of a day devoted to workshops and socializing.

Over in Cardiff there is Birkenstomp which includes a poetry slam, live art, still art, and music.

A week of events is planned in Manchester by 3MT and Other Voices, including a clothes swap, plays, film and a poetry night.

The WomenCentre in Kirklees is hosting Sound Women, an evening of entertainment from women performers, and at the National Trust’s Workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, a ‘women in the workhouse’ exhibition will run until November.

These are just a selection of the 130 plus events listed for the UK so far, and more is going on in other countries.

Click here to see what’s on where.

As the quote by Gloria Steinem says on IWD: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist not to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”.

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