Today is one of the most important, and frequently ignored, “international” holidays in the world. I am proud that my daughter’s birth country, Kazakhstan (with whom she shares dual citizenship) has made International Women’s Day a national holiday.
On this day, let us pause and give serious thought to the atrocities suffered by millions of women every minute of every day in our modern, “civilized” world–barbaric acts such as human traffiking, arranged and forced marriages, and group rapes–too often ignored for political reasons by government officials.
Rather than give lip service to this often-overlooked holiday or simply pat ourselves on the back for wishing a female a “Happy Holiday,” why don’t each of us take a pledge, not only to celebrate the many societal contributions by women, but also to take some step, however small, to stamp out the evils that bring great suffering to millions of women throughout the world? I am including below some links to worthwhile organizations whose missions include stopping human trafficking, domestic abuse and other important actions to make the world a safer place for women, as well as websites that describe the atrocities facing women today (WARNING–Some of the descriptions and images are not for the faint of heart.)
- http://www.polarisproject.org/ (a personal favorite NPO battling human-traffiking)
- http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf (another personal favorite site from UNICEF-“Women in an Insecure World)
- https://www.facebook.com/ForcedMarriageProject (Forced Marriage Opposition Group)
- http://www.refugees.org/resources/for-lawyers/human-trafficking-resources/human-trafficking-links.html (extensive collection of links to excellent resources related to human trafficking and other activities that degrade and victimize women)
- http://www.icl-fi.org/print/english/esp/58/sextraffic.html (US and UN Crusade against “Sex Trafficking”)
In conclusion, please celebrate this wonderful international holiday by showing appreciatin and kindness to the women who have made a difference in your life or the life of someone dear to you, however insignicant, but also do not forget the millios of women victimized and marginalized throughout the world simply because of their gender.