March is Women’s History Month, an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the US, UK, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8. However, March is not the only month or March 8 is not the only day that celebrates women. Here are a few of them.
International Day of Rural Women
The International Day of Rural Women directs attention to both the contribution that women make in rural areas, and the many challenges that they face. The day, established by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2007, recognises “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” The idea of honouring rural women with a special day was put forward by international NGOs at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. It was suggested that October 15 be celebrated as World Rural Women’s Day, on the eve of World Food Day, in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed in New York on October 15, 2008.
Also read: Smriti Mandhana to Harmanpreet Kaur: Here’s the net worth of WPL’s top Indian players
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Women’s rights activists have observed November 25 as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. This date was selected to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler, Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961). On December 20, 1993, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women through a resolution, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide. Finally, on February 7, 2000, the General Assembly adopted a resolution, officially designating November 25 as the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and in doing so, inviting governments, international organisations as well as NGOs to join together and organise activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
Rooted in gender inequality, female genital mutilation limits opportunities for women and girls around the world to exercise their rights and realise their potential. While progress has been made —girls today are a third less likely to undergo the harmful practice than 30 years ago—there’s much more to be done. Female genital mutilation (FGM), which involves the altering or injuring of female genitalia for no medical reason, can cause health complications including severe infection, chronic pain, depression, infertility, and death. Internationally recognised as a human rights violation, its origins are unclear, but it has been practised by societies across the ages. Celebrated on February 6 every year, the day provides the opportunity for governments, member states, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders to raise awareness, renew commitments and reiterate that female genital mutilation is an unacceptable harmful practice and a violation of basic human rights.
Also read: Alia Bhatt to Samantha Ruth Prabhu: A love-affair of Indian actresses with German cars
International Day of Women & Girls in Science
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on February 11 and was declared so by the UN General Assembly in 2015. It aims to promote the participation of women and girls in science as gender equality is essential in the achievement of development goals. In 2011, in its 55th session, the Commission on the Status of Women agreed on participation of women, girls in education, science, training and technology, and for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. In 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology, innovation for development
International Widows’ Day
The UN observes June 23 as International Widows Day since 2011, to draw attention to the voices and experiences of widows and to galvanise the unique support that they need. Now more than ever, this day is an opportunity for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows. This includes providing them with information on access to a fair share of their inheritance, land and productive resources; pensions and social protection that are not based on marital status alone; decent work and equal pay; and education and training opportunities. Empowering widows to support themselves and their families also means addressing social stigmas that create exclusion, and discriminatory or harmful practices.