A special report from Future TV covered International Women's Day and gave background information on how it has become a global day to celebrate women and their importance in society and in the world: "On March 8, 1908, thousands of female textile workers protested on the streets of New York under the slogan 'bread and roses.' They carried dry bread and roses, demanding shorter work hours, voting rights and an end to child labor. This demonstration marked the start of the women's movement in the United States, especially after middle-class women joined the wave of demand for equality and justice. They adopted slogans demanding political rights, and particularly voting rights."
In 1977, the United Nations proclaimed March 8th as International Women's Day. The event was a socio-political movement that blended into the cultures of the United States, Europe and Russia. But for a lot of people, International Women's Day is linked to the illusion of celebrating a woman for being a woman. Lebanese journalist Joumana Hadad belives that International Women's Day is "a reminder of all the women, and even men, who fought for a better world for women, a more equal world. And for those who are still struggling today, it is a day to commend those people. It is the day of the woman to believe in her power, and take action."
The women of the Middle East commemorated International Women's Day by drawing attention to their struggles. Their rights are infringed due to a spectrum of different forces, but they are still standing strong and fighting to win their battles in the face of oppression.
Women in Afghanistan are still fighting for their right to receive an education, especially in the southern provinces of the country. Aljazeera reported on the city of Kandahar, "girls risk their lives to secure their future in an attempt to change the reality of women living in southern Afghanistan." The Taliban and foreign troops are not the only elements that as an obstacle and threaten for women, but also because of the dangerous security situation and the social norms of the country.
For years, women in Palestine have played a key role in the fight for freedom. Al Jazeera reported, "yesterday Palestinian women held a demonstration in solidarity with female prisoner Hana al-Shalabi, who is on her 24th day of an open-ended hunger strike, protesting her administrative detention in Israeli prison. Despite her deteriorating health condition, al-Shalabi remains firm to continue her hunger strike to fight the racism of the occupation forces' policies against Palestinians. The women protestors raised slogans to end the Israeli occupation and settlement construction."
In Egypt, women marched in the streets of Cairo to bring attention to their case especially after last year's attacks on women in demonstrations and also demanded that females be included in the political arena, which is currently male dominated. The female protestors chanted against the military that used excessive force against women in protests at the end of last year and even sexually assaulted them.
Photo: Women shout slogans against the Egyptian military council before marching with other women to mark International Women's Day in Cairo March 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany