International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016 kicked off on Tuesday with celebrations all over the world recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
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The event was established back in the 1900s and later recognized by the United Nations (UN) in 1975. The goal is to achieve gender equality for women worldwide, a mission that is still ongoing. The UN initiative helps raise awareness with a new theme each year, this year being, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” The year 2030 is the target to achieve “gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, as well as ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning,” according to a UN statement.
Social media is a buzz with people sharing how they are celebrating the day by tweeting a #PledgeForParity selfie, participating in IWD events or making donations to female focused charities.
Google (GOOGL) joined the celebration this year with their signature “Google Doodle” video showcasing the “next generation of Doodle-worthy women—the engineers, educators, leaders, movers and shakers of tomorrow.” Google traveled to 13 cities around the world and asked more than 300 women to share their dreams by filling in the blank of the following sentence: “One day I will ______” The result? An inspiring video featuring a diverse group of women including cameos from Anthropologist Jane Goodall, who says she wants to discuss environmental issues with Pope Francis, Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai and activist Muzoon Almellehan. Google is encouraging all woman inspired by the video to tweet their dreams with the hashtag #OneDayIWill.
To commemorate International Women's Day, Facebook partnered with Mihaela Noroc, a Romanian photographer and creator of the popular The Atlas of Beauty Facebook page, to highlight six women who are changing the world around them.
In Washington D.C., Together for Girls, a public private organization dedicated to ending violence against children with a focus on sexual violence against girls, partnered with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen on Capitol Hill to recognize International Women’s Day.
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Last month, Senator Shaheen introduced the Sexual Assault Survivors Act, legislation to establish basic rights across the United States for sexual assault survivors and empower them to pursue justice. A new petition on Change.org is calling on Congress to enact the legislation; It gathered nearly 50,000 signatures in just 24 hours.
Together for Girls hopes IWD will shed a light on sexual violence as a human rights violation on a global scale. The goal of the “Every Hour Matters” campaign is to increase awareness about the need to rapidly access post-rape care and calls on national and community leaders to ensure services are available in all communities.
“Most people are unaware of the many services that can help survivors heal from the trauma of rape. Survivors have 72 hours to receive post-exposure prophylaxis that can prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. Depending on the circumstances, rapid treatment for trauma may also prevent other short- and long-term health consequences,” said Michele Moloney-Kitts, director of Together for Girls.
According to Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) in the United States, an estimated 11% of high school girls report that they have been raped, and VACS notes the majority of those rapes go unreported. VACS is the first national survey of its kind on the prevalence of emotional, physical and sexual violence against children developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention.