Today marks over a century of honoring women on International Women’s Day. What grew out of protests over unsafe working conditions for female factory workers nationwide has now become an international day of recognition of women and girls around the world and the struggles they still face.

As the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and Girls continues into next week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement urging governments to focus on violence against women this International Women’s Day. He said “Look around at the women you are with. Think of those you cherish in your families and your communities, and understand that there is a statistical likelihood that many of them have suffered violence in their lifetime. …One young woman was gang-raped to death. Another committed suicide out of a sense of shame that should have been attached to the perpetrators. Young teens were shot at close range for daring to seek an education. These atrocities, which rightly sparked global outrage, were part of a much larger problem that pervades virtually every society and every realm of life.”

Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor 3/8/2013; UN News Centre 3/8/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/7/2013

Different cultures women in 8 march Woman Day greeting card from Shutterstock

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