Tuesday March 8thÃ‚Â marks the Centenary Celebrations of International WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day (IWD). According to www.internationalwomensday.com, theÃ‚Â day was honoured for the first time on 19 March, 1911. The date was later moved to March 8thÃ‚Â in 1913 and to this date, International WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day is globally celebrated on this day.
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues and other women with flowers and small gifts.
Ã‚Â With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights and an increased critical mass of womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and presidents, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
So, this Tuesday, set aside some time to ponder on how, as a woman, you are worth celebrating. Think also on the contributions that women have made and continue to make to the progression of the world and life as we know it.Ã‚Â
Reflect on all you need to be thankful for; the education, access to medical facilities, competitive employment, a voice that can be heard and so much more. Likewise, remember that not everyone in this country is as lucky, yet. There are still a lot of women who do not have access to the simplest things and whose rights are still trampled underfoot. If each of us set out to help just one woman at a time, imagine how much of a difference we would make in Malawi by this time next year?
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all do our bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.