Today (8 March 2013) marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a day that marks and acknowledges the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is also a day when women are recognised for their achievements, regardless of divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. The struggles and accomplishments of the past are acknowledged as we look towards the future in order to tap into the unrecognised potentials and opportunities that await future generations of women.
UN Women Australia’s theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is ‘Ending Violence Against Women’.
Violence against women is a human rights violation which denies women their most basic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of opinion, mobility and participation in society. This fundamental violation of women’s rights remains widespread and affects all nations. UN Women premises its work on the belief that regardless of one’s country of birth, race, religion or background, women need strong laws, backed by implementation and services for protection and prevention.
Violence against women takes many forms, affects girls and women of all ages and is not confined to a specific culture, region or country. Violence against women can include:
- Domestic and intimate partner violence (a woman is killed every week by a male partner or ex-partner within Australia);
- Sexual violence (a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds in Sao Paulo, Brazil);
- Harmful traditional practices (includes female genital mutilation as well as the 60 million girls under the age of 18 who are forced into marriage); and
- Violence against women in war and armed conflict.
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of ALL who care about human rights."