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The International Women’s Day 2015: Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity… If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior… If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women… – Mahatma Gandhi

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International Women's Day 2015 (Photo: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra)
International Women’s Day 2015 (Photo: UN Women/Fernando Bocanegra)

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On March 8th every year, the day originally known as the International Working Women’s Day, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. Two years later, in December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and increase support for women’s full and equal participation. To this to effect, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women Rights and International Peace observed on any day of the year according to their historical and national traditions by Member States.

The Beijing Platform for Action

The International Women’s Day 2015 celebrated globally today will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.

On this day, the focus is on upholding women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and pay greater attention to women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is the clarion call of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”

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Equality for Women is Progress for All …


. Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj.

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Equality for women is progress for all.”

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Frauentag 1914 Heraus mit dem Frauenwahlrecht (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Frauentag 1914 Heraus mit dem Frauenwahlrecht (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A century ago, the above poster in German for International Women’s Day, March 8th, 1914, proclaimed:

“Give Us Women’s Suffrage. Women’s Day, March 8, 1914. Until now, prejudice and reactionary attitudes have denied full civic rights to women, who as workers, mothers, and citizens wholly fulfill their duty, who must pay their taxes to the state as well as the municipality. Fighting for this natural human right must be the firm, unwavering intention of every woman, every female worker. In this, no pause for rest, no respite is allowed. Come all, you women and girls, to the 9th public women’s assembly on Sunday, March 8, 1914, at 3pm.”

Today, though equality for women has made positive gains, still inequality remains in most part of the world.

Women’s rights activists across the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) annually on March 8; and this day has been marked by the United Nations since 1975.

The official United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Equality for women is progress for all.

The first National Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

The day developed as a Socialist political event, and was formerly called International Working Women’s Day. The earliest observances of the day were held on different dates: May 3, 1908, in Chicago; February 28th, 1909, and on February 27, 1910, in New York.

The Working Women’s Day was celebrated primarily in Russia, and to a certain extent in many other countries in Europe. In some countries, the day became an amalgamation of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and for men to express their gratitude and love for women.

In August 1910, before the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, an International Women’s Conference was organized. At that conference, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed to institute an annual “International Woman’s Day” (note it is singular) as to promote equal rights, including suffrage, for women. The proposition was seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin. However, no date was fixed then. A Hundred woman delegates from 17 countries agreed to the motion.

The following year, on March 19, 1911, for the first time, over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland observed IWD. There were around 300 demonstrations in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstraße (Ringstrasse) carrying banners to honour the martyrs of the Paris Commune.

Women demanded that women be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against discrimination for employment based on gender.

The American women, however, continued to celebrate its National Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. In 1913, Russian women too observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February, according to the Julian calendar then used in Russia.

There were some women-led strikes, marches, and other protests in the years leading up to 1914, but none of them took place on March 8.

In 1914 International Women’s Day was held on March 8, presumably because that day was a Sunday. From then on IWD is always held on March 8 in all countries.

International Women's Day (Source: theobamacrat.com)
International Women’s Day (Source: theobamacrat.com)

International Women’s Day 2014 is the subject of the latest doodle displayed on Google’s home page. The Doodle video features over a 100 inspiring women from around the world. It includes the president of Lithuania, a brave Pakistani education activist, the most recorded artist in music history and an ever-curious explorer. The full list of women in this video on our doodle site.

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Unisex in Scotland

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Today is International Friendship Day!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Fridenship Day
Today, is the first Sunday of August and we in India are celebrating Friendship Day. For many years, people the world over have celebrated Friendship Day.

It has become a popular tradition for friends to exchange gifts, flowers, greeting cards and wrist bands on Friendship Day.

Joyce C. Hall

Friendship Day was originally promoted in 1930 by Joyce C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards. He intended to celebrate it on August 2nd.  Though the Friendship Day was initially promoted by the greeting card industry, the growth of the internet and proliferation of mobile phones have made it easier to greet friends than ever before. Advent of social networking sites, helps people to celebrate Friendship Day online/

Dr. Artemio Bracho was the first to propose the idea of a World Friendship Day .
Dr. Artemio Bracho

On 20 July 1958 by Dr. Artemio Bracho was the first to propose the idea of a World Friendship Day during a dinner with friends in Puerto Pinasco, Paraguay. Out of this humble meeting of friends, the World Friendship Crusade that promotes friendship and fellowship among all human beings, regardless of race, colour or religion was born. Since then, 30 July has been faithfully celebrated as Friendship Day in Paraguay every year and has also been adopted by several other countries.

Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh

In 1998, in honour of Friendship Day Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nation. The event was co-sponsored by the U.N. Department of Public Information and Disney Enterprises, and was co-hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford.

On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations drew a draft resolution on International Day of Friendship that designated 30 July as the International Day of Friendship:

United Nations

International Day of Friendship

The General Assembly,

Recalling the goals and objectives of its Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010), and all its relevant resolutions,

Recognizing the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world,

Bearing in mind that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and presents an opportunity to build bridges between communities, honouring cultural diversity,

Affirming that friendship can contribute to the efforts of the international community, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, towards the promotion of dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation,

Convinced of the importance of involving youth and future leaders in community activities aimed at the inclusion of and respect between different cultures, while promoting international understanding, respect for diversity and a culture of peace, in accordance with the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace,

Noting that friendship-related activities, events and initiatives are observed each year in many countries,

1. Decides to designate 30 July as the International Day of Friendship;

2. Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Friendship in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the culture and other
appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system.

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Though the General Assembly of the United Nations designated 30 July as the official International Day of Friendship, some countries, including India, celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August.

In Oberlin, Ohio, Friendship Day is celebrated on 8 April each year.

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“A Promise Is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity… If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior… If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women… – Mahatma Gandhi

A promise is a promise - the theme for International Women’s Day 2013

On March 8th every year, the day originally known as the International Working Women’s Day, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) focusing on respect, appreciation and love towards women and to celebrate the achievements of women in economic, political and social arena without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments of women, and for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

This day was originally known as the International Working Women’s Day. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. Two years later, in December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and increase support for women’s full and equal participation. To this to effect, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women Rights and International Peace observed on any day of the year according to their historical and national traditions by Member States.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” seeks to strengthen international community’s commitment to put an end to violence against women – a gross human rights violation that affects up to 70% women.

As part of the effort the UN leads to fight violence against women, UNiTE campaign, the United Nations Secretary-Generals Ban Ki-moon’s “Unite to End Violence Against Women” calls on all governments, civil society, women’s organizations, men, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.

The song “One Woman” written for UN Women and performed by acclaimed singers and musicians from China to Costa Rica, from Mali to Malaysia spreads a message of unity and solidarity. The song is a rallying cry to inspire listeners to join the drive for women’s rights and gender equality, and overcome violence and discrimination against women.

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Let Us Celebrate the 64th Annual Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012


“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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My Voice Counts, Human Rights Day - 1

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During the Second World War, the allies adopted the following Four Freedoms, as their basic war aims:

      • Freedom of speech
      • Freedom of religion
      • Freedom from fear
      • Freedom from want

The United Nations Charter “reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

After the Second World War, the world became aware of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. The world community concurred that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced above. Hence arose the necessity for an universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals to give effect to the Charter’s provisions on human rights.

At the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950, the members decided to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10 every year because on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the first worldwide proclamation of human rights, and also one of the major achievements of the new United Nations. The General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day.

Traditionally, on December 10th, the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people – women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized and to make their voices heard in public life and to include them in political decision-making.

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