Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! Today, we celebrate the incredible achievements women have made throughout history, as well as recognize the feats women are making around the world each and everyday. It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in terms of gender equality whilst recognizing the progress we still need to make. So, after reminding the women in your life how strong they are and how much they’ve shaped you, check out a few of the things Hamilton-Lugar would like take today to recognize.
Berlin marks International Women’s Day as a public holiday
Hooray! For the first time, the city of Berlin declared International Women’s Day an official, public holiday. While it’s not yet a national holiday, Germany will now be joining 20 countries who also mark March 8 as a day off of work in celebration. Mayor Michael Müller stated the declaration meant Berlin is, “Fighting for gender equality and women’s rights.” Since the first countries to recognize International Women’s day were the Soviet Union and its allies, the holiday has had a hard time gaining the traction it deserves globally, but Berlin’s declaration is certainly a step in the right direction!
Kenyan women march against gender-based violence
Hundreds of women in Nairobi, Kenya marched in the streets in protest against gender-based violence and the lack of punishment for its perpetrators. Reports indicate that as many as 20 Kenyan women were killed in acts of gender-based violence in 2019 alone, and men are rarely punished for acts of abuse and sexual violence. Additionally, the U.N. reported that nearly 70% of women intentionally killed in Africa were killed by partners or other family members. Sadly, little progress has been made to counter this trend, and the brave women in Nairobi are risking their lives to make sure these terrible issues get the attention they deserve.
Human rights activist, Loujain al-Hathloul
Social media figure and women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, has dedicated the better part of her adult life fighting against some of the most daunting women’s rights issues of today, particularly those in her home country of Saudi Arabia. She is particularly well-known for fighting the female driving ban in Saudi Arabia, and thanks to her efforts, the ban officially ended last June. She is currently held as a political prisoner in Saudi Arabia, where she continues to defy injustice and inequality against insurmountable hardship.
Human rights activist, Gulalai Ismail
Chairperson of Aware Girls and the Seeds of Peace network, Gulalai Ismail has done remarkable work championing equality and human rights. Born in Swabi, Pakistan, Ismail began the Aware Girls organization at the age of 16 after becoming encouraged to fight against submissive gender roles. In addition to bravely promoting Pashtun resistance to the Taliban and giving women the courage to go into politics, she has received countless awards, such as the Democracy Award in 2013 and the title of International Humanist the year after.