Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON – We observe International Women’s Day on March 8, paying tribute to women’s achievements and the ongoing campaign for equality. Although women of the world may be separated by language, geography, and culture, we are united in activism and energy.
NOW celebrates the women who are making a global difference and inspiring us here in the U.S.
Women like the “Feminist Five” in China—five women who were imprisoned for 37 days for planning to distribute information about gender equality and sexual harassment to mark International Women’s Day. Their persecution showed the world that there is an organic, grassroots women’s movement in China and led to the emergence of the #MeToo movement in that country.
Women like Nadia Murad, a joint winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS in Iraq. Following her escape, she became an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for the cause of refugees’ and women’s rights. “My story, told honestly and matter-of-factly, is the best weapon I have against terrorism,” Nadia says. “More than anything else, I said, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.”
And women like those in India, who held the largest public gathering of women for the cause of gender equality this past New Year’s Day. As NPR reported, “… somewhere between 3.5 million and 5 million women lined up on National Highway 66, a long stretch of road that runs along the country’s western coast. The ‘wall’ stretched out 385 miles.”
As one woman wrote in response on Twitter, “The era of women folding hands and submitting to patriarchy is beginning to end from here. They will throw their fists on the air and demand for their rights. Women’s wall is just a beginning, a baby step of the impending cultural revolution. #WomensWall”
On International Women’s Day, these are the examples that lift up women here in the U.S. and around the world. Their struggle is our struggle, their cause is our cause, and their courage is our courage. We will not fail them, and we will not fail each other.
Read more by Elena Mieszczanski, Government Intern
NOW Press, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669