the story of a woman in a 100 years

Next week Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and already, we’re seeing various media outlets are giving a nod to this day of celebration. Online site Femalefirst.co.uk has reported on a great selection of celebrity photographer’s Rankin’s images of women celebrating the centenary with Actionaid.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has been plugging its campaign to encourage readers to pick out their top list of the world’s most inspirational women.

While it’s encouraging to consider just how many women have been recognised for their determination and excellence, the reality remains that globally, many women’s capabilities go unrecognised and their rights are bitterly denied.  France’s recent announcement to implement its burka ban presents a clear illustration of that.

By its very nature, such a ban discriminates against a woman’s right to freely express her religious beliefs.  And for the women who are being coerced into wearing full face veils, a ban would only make matters worse.  As one former Amnesty colleague pointed out, "either they’re criminalised if they go out in public or, more likely, they are confined to their homes.”

Rather than limiting the choices available to women, the French government should instead concentrate its efforts on empowering women to make their own choices.

Closer to home here in the UK, attitudes are far from perfect when it comes to recognising full equality between men and women. Next week Tuesday EQUALS Coalition – of which Amnesty is part – will release some interesting findings about attitudes around the UK towards gender stereotypes and experiences (more on that next week).  But today the Guardian is reporting on a poll by women in journalism that 74 per cent of news journalists on national newspapers are men and that men also dominate political and business journalism.

There’s a lot more I could say about this, and I will – next week! But suffice to say for now is that Amnesty is still campaigning to defend and uphold women’s rights, standing in solidarity with women’s rights defenders around the world. Next week Tuesday for example, we will be hosting “In Solidarity: In defiance” – a really interesting debate with women’s rights defenders from the Middle East.  If you’re in London and free next Tuesday, come along – it should be an interesting debate.

And we’ll be taking part in a host of other celebrations with the EQUALS– such as the Soul Train in Jubilee Gardens and an EQUALS concert featuring Paloma Faith and Annie Lenox as part of the Southbank Centre ‘s WOW Festival.

Actually for a pretty comprehensive line up of what you can do to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day, click through to the Guardian’s link here. Or visit www.weareequals.org to find out more

There’ll be plenty to celebrate next week, but there’s still work to be done!
 

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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