International Women’s Day 2010

 

The International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on the 8th of March. In Sri Lanka the United Nations (UN) inaugurated IWD on the 5th of March as 8th was packed with various other activities for the local partners, under the global theme “Equal Rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all”

 

There was a panel discussion on the theme covering:

§         Governance,

§         Working women in plantations, garment factories & middle east women workers,

§         Working women in the formal sector and implications of policies & some aspects of laws,

§         Women in IDP situations and other disasters

 

To highlight the theme a play on how women in tea plantations are exploited by male supervisors was staged followed by songs by “Soul Sounds” on women. It was also announced that on the 8th, the chair of the UN Development Group and Administrator of UNDP, Helen Clark together with the Indian Prime Minister, will launch “2010 Human Development Report of Asia Titled “Power, Rights and Voice: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia Pacific" in New Delhi. The bulk of the work for this report was done at the Regional Centre, Colombo.

On the 8th The UN Gender Theme Group invited a number of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to be present at the UN compound in order to give visibility to the work done by them for the advancement of women and disadvantaged groups.

 

They displayed their work including products which were produced by economically marginalized rural women, battered women, HIV positive women and men and abused children.

 

A street drama on issues the women workers face in their working life, including sexual harassment was staged outdoors by garment factory workers from Katunayake.

 

A song of the day titled ‘Let us light a candle in the name of all mothers” was also sung.

 

WHO sponsored this event partially being an active member of the Gender Theme Group.

 

 

“Let’s light a candle in the name of all mothers”

 

“Let us light a candle in the name of all the mothers

Who nurture the whole world in their warm hands

Let us light a candle in the name all brave women

Who struggle and sacrifice their lives

To build a better world for their children”

 

“Let us light a candle in the name of all daughters

Whose lives are crushed before blooming

Let us light a candle in the name of all infant daughters

Whose embryos were destroyed before they were born”

 

“Let us light a candle in the name of all brave women

Who shed their blood and sweat in factories

Work places, farms, homes and in the silicone valley

Let us light a candle in the name of all widows

Whose lives were destroyed by the cruelty of war”

 

“Let us light a candle in the name of all grandmothers

Who take care of grand children even when they are feeble

Let us light a candle in the name of all strong women

Who struggle for their rights, for peace and democracy

To build a better world without violence and destruction”

 

Lyrics: Puspa Ramlani Dissanayake

Program Co-ordinator of the Women & Media Collective