By Paula Coston
Hello again. As an Englishwoman childless-not-by-choice, I’ve written here before – especially, about the differences and similarities we share across the Atlantic.
Upcoming International Women’s Day (IWD), on March 8, has inspired me this time. The Day started with the socialist movement. The first international women’s conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1910, meaning that it enjoyed its 100th anniversary in 2010.
Alongside this, since 1975, the United Nations has held an annual World Conference on Women and backed the IWD movement. Of course, the UN’s support for the rights of women began when it was founded. This was back in 1948. The movement towards an IWD ‘movement’ has moved on a long way since then! Today, an IWD website exists, set up as ‘a non-profit philanthropic venture dedicated to keeping IWD alive and growing’.
IWD aims to have worldwide reach, and to celebrate the achievements – political, economic, and social – of women, past, present, and future. In some countries, such as Vietnam, Russia and China, it is a national holiday.
Not wanting to boast or anything, but there are more IWD events listed on the website for the UK than for any other country. Here’s an (incomplete) league table:
- UK: 37
- Australia: 21
- Canada: 19
- USA: 16
- India: 3
- Malaysia: 3
- United Republic of Tanzania: 3
- Georgia: 1
- United Arab Emirates: 1
- Spain: 1
- Germany: 1
None listed for Italy, for instance, or many other countries. At least, not as of this writing.
As a litmus test of our progress as a gender, in 2010, the theme was ‘Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all’. Themes in subsequent years were equal access to education, empowering rural women, and ending violence against women, whereas this year, it’s ‘Inspiring Change’.
So where do childless women, around the world, ‘fit’ within these celebrations?