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Each year, as International Women’s Day is honored, there are celebrations and commiserations, steps forward, and steps back, in improving the status of women worldwide.
The day, first honored in the early 1900s in Europe, has since grown to a global phenomenon, and remains the largest celebration of women across the world.
Statistically, progress for women in all walks of life remain sobering:
- At least one in three women will be abused in her lifetime, according to United Nations statistics
- Disparity in pay is problematic, with Europe alone experiencing a 16% disparity between men and women's pay.
- Women are not empowered, with only around 20% of the world's parliamentarians being women
But, all is not lost! To honor the day, iReport asked women around the world what their one wish would be for women. The results, from India to Italy, were inspiring, moving, and very forthright.
“Stand up for your dreams -- and stand up for each other.”
In India, where the horrific rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi last December sparked weeks of protests and much soul searching about the status of women in the nation, the messages were blunt -- be fearless, be audacious, and above all, be brave.
"Have the audacity. Stand up for your rights. Stand up for what you believe in,” said iReporter Meera Vijayann, a writer and NGO worker,who urged women to have the self-belief to aim high and to help others on the heady upward climb.
"Stand up for your dreams and stand up for each other. With just enough confidence, we can truly move mountains.
“Stop underestimating yourselves.”
The age-old dilemma (for women) of the work/life balance was very much her fellow Indian iReporter Sharmita Mandal’s mind. She exhorted women to aim high.
“My wish is for all the women who left a job, thinking they wouldn't be able to do justice to both work and managing family,” said the Bangalore based PR consultant.
“You will never know what you are capable of unless you reach the finish line," she said, specifically with working women in mind.
Fear and lack of confidence within women was also a big issue for Italian iReporter Martina Lunardelli.
“I wish for all the women and girls around the world to never fear,” she said, “and to continue struggling for our rights and our dreams."
"I wish you all courage and strength"
But Veronica Lon Pantaleon Mendoza, an English teacher from the Philippines, was more reflective in her wish wanting to reassure them there is support for women who have suffered, and survived, sexual or domestic violence.
“I wish you all courage and strength, and also understanding and support from the people surrounding those women with children and who are abused,” she said.
"Growing up safe"
Children were also on the mind of Patricia Mouamar from Beirut, Lebanon, who works for the charity World Vision.
“My wish for women around the globe is to know that their children will grow up in a safe and loving environment," she said.
"We are all in this together"
When Australian student Jessica Arvela spoke to her friends and family about what their wishes would be, one thing she noticed was that all their wishes were for basic human rights -- rights that they felt were not being met.
“My wish is for us to support each other every day, to realise we are all in this together, that we are all on the same team,” she said.
But Arveta ended her message on a hopeful note. “One day, these wishes will become granted!" she said.
my wish is to put away the bitchiness for one day, if you can
Why is it in a woman it's bitchy and with a man it's just being aggressive?! Crysis63 grow up!
Amen to that!
i believe women the world over are becoming more enlightened and empowered, thanks to the passage of laws protecting the rights of women and dissemination of information by media,NGOs, and other concerned groups....much still has to be done but i think we're going there....
Good to know that we are all in these together.... Iknow that day will soon come when women shall be allowed to speak freely and be given equal rights with men especially in Africa..........
God created the universe and added women to it as its most beautiful and priceless ornament. The most important message to women is to know their real worth and demand treatment accordingly. Nobody gives anything to anybody except what he or she demands and is truly worthy of. So, begin with SELF-AWARENESS and rest of everything will automatically fall in place!
No matter what race, what religion, or what country you live in, women always seem to face the downside of things. I appreciate the fact that there's a National Women's Month. All of the students finally get to learn some more of our country's cruel history. The most vital message to women is to appreciate themselves. In Christian religion, God created woman to be a beautiful form of man. That doesn't mean that women should be treated different than men. The rights of women are improving, and it's up to this generation to keep building the benefits.
THE ONLY PREGNANT WOMAN IN THE WORLD TO HAVE OPEN HEART SURGERY.Evelyn Maude Baird, would not have the rights to not abort her baby 100 hundred years ago for any medical decisions,unless her husband told the doctors what he wanted.The rights of woman were slow in progress in the USA. The right to vote the right to own property,It is labeled A Mans World, even though the Female to Mail Ratio is 14 to 1.
I,Darlene Cox wish and dare to dream " BIG" this year has I am doing running for our home-town Mayor. It will give the other women in my town the cougar tiger to get - up do what ever they heart beat to run it! Wish on it, dare to Dream for it, just might true one-day! Darlene Cox- wishing on shining star, for her Mayor race.