BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS HONORS 100th ANNIVERSARY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

For March 8th anniversary, Senators emphasize that empowered women create empowered societies

March 07, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) — In honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Olympia J. Snowe (R-M.E.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-M.D.), and Susan M. Collins (R-M.E.) introduced a resolution recognizing the global day, which passed the Senate unanimously. International Women’s Day, to be observed on March 8th, celebrates the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future and is a day to recognize the obstacles that women still face in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities.

“The milestone 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day is a testament to the dedication and determination of women and men around the world to address gender inequality,” said Senator Shaheen.  “Gender equality improves a society, making it more productive and economically viable. As the International Monetary Fund has said, ‘focusing on the needs and empowerment of women is one of the keys to human development.’ I am proud to stand with other Senators as we recognize the importance of empowering women, and the work we still need to do on that front.”

“Today women in the developing world continue to face significant obstacles including denial of basic human rights, discrimination, and gender-based violence,” said Senator Snowe. “Yet when women and girls are protected and afforded opportunities, they drive social and economic progress – which in turn is vital to the ability of a nation to achieve lasting growth and stability.  I am proud to join my colleagues in offering this resolution to support the empowerment of women globally and recognize the significance of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.”

“One hundred years since the first International Women's Day was observed, many women around the world still face significant obstacles in all aspects of their lives. Entire communities suffer when women are not free to earn an income, feed their families, or protect themselves and their children from violence,” said Senator Cardin. “On this day and every day, I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of women across America and worldwide. Investing in women and girls is one of the most efficient uses of our foreign assistance dollars and one of the best ways to make the world more peaceful and prosperous.”

“One of my role models in public service, former Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, was once asked the question of what is a woman’s proper place?  Her famous reply was, ‘Everywhere,’” said Senator Collins. “International Women’s Day celebrates the countless important social, economic, cultural, and political contributions that women are making everywhere—directing their own destinies, advancing democracy, and participating in the global economy.  We must continue to work toward a world that empowers women to be the leaders of tomorrow, and this resolution reaffirms that commitment.”

With the resolution, the Senators recognize and honor the women in the United States and around the world who have worked throughout history to ensure that women are guaranteed equality and basic human rights. The Senate also reaffirms its commitment to ending discrimination and violence against women and girls, to ensuring the safety and welfare of women and girls, and to pursuing policies that guarantee the basic human rights of women and girls worldwide.

More than 3,300,000,000 women in the world today participate in the political, social, and economic life of their communities, play a critical role in providing and caring for their families, contribute substantially to the growth of economies, and, as both farmers and caregivers, play an important role in advancing food security for their communities. The ability of women to realize their full potential is critical to the ability of a nation to achieve strong and lasting economic growth and political and social stability.

Although strides have been made in recent decades, women around the world continue to face significant obstacles in all aspects of their lives, including denial of basic human rights, discrimination, and gender-based violence.

  • According to the World Bank, women account for approximately 70 percent of individuals living in poverty worldwide.
  • According to UNESCO, women account for 64 percent of the 796,000,000 adults worldwide who lack basic literacy skills. 
  • According to the International Center for Research on Women, there are more than 60,000,000 child brides in developing countries, some of whom are as young as 7 years old.
  • According to the World Health Organization, as many as 1 in 5 women report being sexually abused before the age of 15.
  • According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, women account for only 19.2 percent of national parliamentarians. Women around the globe are still vastly underrepresented in high level positions and in national and local legislatures and governments.

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