Today, March 8th, is the day recognized every year as International Woman's Day (IWD). It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. IWD began as a political event, with the annual event blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia, as well as other nations of the former Soviet bloc).
While In some cultures IWD has lost some of its political flavor and become simply an occasion for men to express their love or respect towards women (a la Valentines Day meets Mother's Day), in many more countries it has maintained its political/sociological edge, where issues pertaining specifically to women are discussed. This year is no exception, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the specific health-care needs of women are often ignored or insufficiently taken into account in war situations.
The ICRC points out, "In the world’s least developed countries, many of which are at war, women are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than in developed countries, according to UNICEF. While armed conflicts and other violence affect entire communities, women are particularly at risk of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Because of poor security conditions or because they have no means of transportation, it is often impossible for women to reach a health-care facility so as to give birth safely."
And in recognition of IWD, leaders from seven international organizations converged in New York this week for a 'Girl Power and Potential' reception with the event featuring a panel of speakers outlining the strategies and goals of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Adolescent Girls. For more information click here.