International Women’s Day 2009 Theme
Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Hundreds of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Organisations, governments and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.
Some years have seen global IWD themes honoured around the world, while in other years groups have preferred to ‘localise’ their own themes to make them more specific and relevant.
THEME: So while many people may think there is one global theme each year, this is not always correct. It is completely up to each country and group as to what appropriate theme they select.
Below are some of the global United Nation themes used for International Women’s Day to date:
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
Women’s Day In India
In a country like ours where society is marred by heinous crimes against women, including rape, dowry deaths, female infanticide etc. , the international women’s day holds special significance. In India too therefore, Women’s day is celebrated with great fervour. Several women’s organisations, NGO’s students and social activists participate actively by organising seminars, mass rallies, movie and documentary shows, staging of gender sensitive plays, theatre and so on. Several government and civil society initiatives like girl child education, reservation of seats in local panchayats, etc. have led to empowering the Indian woman today.However much more still needs to be addressed to make women equal citizens both in the public and private domain.The International Women’s Day thus serves as a reminder of how much we have achieved and how much more still needs to be done.
As the day is a remembrance to great women for their outstanding achievements that are indefinable, let’s have a feel of their feats. Mother Teresa, the idle women, born for a cause and died for that cause and the cause was ‘serving Humanity’. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was the birth name assigned to the lady, who belonged to a small district of Rome with her charity mission. India has been the country, being major blessed with her sanctions. She was also remembered as the Humanitarian Nun of Calcutta “The Saint of the Gutters”
Annie Besant, the daughter of William Wood and Emily Morris, was born in 1847. She came to India on 16 November 1893 to attend the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society at Adyar in Madras. Since then, she worked for the freedom of India. She purchased the newspaper Madras Standard and renamed it New India, which, thereafter, became her chosen organ for her tempestuous propaganda for India’s freedom. She named this freedom “Home Rule” for India. In August 1917 she was made the President of the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
The late Diana, Princess of Wales was born as Lady Diana Frances Spencer on 1 July 1961 in Norfolk. She married The Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on 29 July 1981. Her biggest achievement, becoming the most famous woman in the world and raising awareness of several social issues including AIDS, poverty, drug problems, homelessness. Diana was involved with dozens of charities and had a particular interest in children and AIDS victims. She held honorary ranks with several regiments of the Armed Forces. She was an excellent pianist and was patron of several music organisations and charities.
Sarojini Naidu, the eldest daughter of scientist-philosopher, Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, and Barada Sundari Devi, a poetess was born on 13 February 1879 in Hyderabad. Her father was also a linguist, a crusader, who established the Nizam’s College in Hyderabad in 1878, pioneering English and women’s education. Her ability to sing charmingly fetched her the title ‘Nightingale of India’. Sarojini worked as an active politician and freedom fighter ever since 1917. She was a woman with multiple talents. A great poet, writer, orator, leader, fighter, activist, liberator, administrator, mother, daughter, friend, but most importantly a true Indian.
The great heroine of the First war of India Freedom. She lived for only twenty-two years. She became a widow in her eighteenth year. Jhansi, of which she was the queen, was in the grip of the cunning, cruel British. She was the embodiment of patriotism, self-respect and heroism. She was the queen of a small state, but the empress of a limitless empire of glory.
Indira Nehru Gandhi was born on November 19, 1917 and was the only child of Jawaharlal and Kamala Nehru. Being influenced and inspired by her parents, Indira Gandhi rose to power in India and eventually became prime minister. She dedicated her life to progress in her country despite the overwhelming problems and challenges she encountered. A brilliant political strategist and thinker, Indira also possessed an extraordinary desire for political power. As a woman occupying the highest position of government in, what was at that time, a very patriarchal society, Indira was expected to be a passive leader, but her actions proved her otherwise.
Bachendri Pal was the first Indian woman to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest, in 1984. Her father was a border tradesman who took atta and rice from India to Tibet on mules, horses and goats. She was judged the best student in the course, and marked down as ‘Everest material’, much to her surprise. In an advanced camp at NIM in 1982, she climbed Gangotri I (6,672 m/ 21900 ft) and Rudugaira (5,819 m / 19091 ft).
Born in Karnal, India, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, was the first Indian American to step into sky. She was fond of flying, hiking, backpacking, and reading. She held Certificate Flight Instructor’s license and Commercial Pilots licenses for single- and multi-engine land airplanes and single-engine seaplanes, instrument rating, and Private Glider. She enjoys flying aerobatics and tail-wheel airplanes. She was the first and only Indian-American in space (she was born in India and became a naturalized U.S. citizen). She was also a U.S. doctorate & M.S. in aerospace engineering and B.S. in aeronautical engineering from India. One more feather in her cap was that she was the second Indian in space, after Indian citizen Rakesh Sharma, who flew on a Soviet mission.
It is a voice that no Indian can miss. Delightfully high, the notes rendered clearly to the last bar, the words pronounced with a rare panache – the voice has haunted Indians for over five decades. The ‘masseuse’ of this all-pervading music and the queen empress of India’s immensely popular light music industry, is a portly, dark, camera-shy, plain-as-jane, woman, Latabai Mangeshkar, who, as a playback singer, enjoys today, a clout, which even the movie moguls of the country’s film industry cannot dream of. Lata Mangeshkar’s songs have captured the hearts and imagination of millions of her admirers around the world. They have become an inseparable part of the daily lives of Indians – wherever they may be. Words fail to express the depth and scope of Lata Mangeshkar’s genius. Lata Mangeshkar has come to symbolise India in a way that no one else has, or ever will for years to come.
Born in the small sleepy town of Mangalore in Karnataka, on November 1, 1973, Gullu as she is fondly called, made India proud when she won the Miss World title in 1994. Since then there has been no looking back. Life was not an easy joyride for this green-eyed beauty. She faced very many ups and downs before proving her mark in the industry. She has to her kitty some of the most memorable Bollywood flicks like, Hum Dil DeChuke Sanam, Devdas, Mohabatein, Choker Bali, Taal and she is also planning certain Hollywood movies with some renowned directors.
Pandit Vijayalakshmi is one of India’s most famous women was distinguished for her work in government and for her interest in the women’s movement. Madame Pandit was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1947 and ambassador to the United States in 1949. From 1953 to 1954, she served as the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly. She then became Indian high commissioner in Britain. She became ambassador to Ireland in 1955 and ambassador to Spain in 1958, and held both posts until 1961. She was governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra from 1962 to 1964, and served in India’s Parliament from 1964 to 1967. She retired from public life in 1968. Madame Pandit was born in Allahabad, India.
Sania Mirza is the current youth icon in India. Coming from Hyderabad, this teenager girl has achieved great heights and is continuing to create history in Indian tennis by becoming the first ever Indian to break into the top-50 WTA rankings. She also became the first Indian woman to win a WTA tourney when she lifted the Hyderabad Open trophy in February 2005. Sania Mirza has also been honoured with the prestigious Arjuna award by the Indian government for the year 2004.
Honoured with the Magsaysay Award, she was the first woman to join the Indian Police Service in 1972 and the first sub-divisional lady police officer in the country. She draws inspiration from thinkers and writers like Hazrat Mohammed Saheb, Gandhi and Guru Nanak.Bold and courageous ,she has broken all myths about the “weaker sex”.
Most conspicuous as the courageous face during the Kargil war,Barkha Dutt is senior editor at NDTV. Her motto in life is, “Be willing to be unpopular as it makes your reporting more honest.” Full of grit and confidence, she is a woman who has added a new face to bold journalism.Her fearless coverage of the Gujarat riots has earned her added praise.
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar -Shaw
Chairman & Managing Director, of Biocon Limited, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s pioneering efforts in biotechnology have drawn global recognition both for Indian Industry and Biocon. Referred to as “India’s Biotech Queen” by The Economist and “India’s mother of invention” by New York Times, Ms Shaw is a successful technocrat of global standing and highly respected in the corporate world. Her unique vision has helped Biocon scale great heights. Ms. Shaw is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the ET Businesswoman of the Year, Best Woman Entrepreneur, Model Employer, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences & Healthcare, Leading Exporter, Outstanding Citizen, Technology Pioneer, and the PADMASHRI (1989) and PADMA BHUSHAN (2005).
The first Indian to win The Booker Prize for her celebrated work “the God Of Small Things”, Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She has written two non-fiction books, The Cost of Living (Random House / Modern Library) and Power Politics (South End Press), which have been collected under the title The Algebra of Infinite Justice in India (Penguin India) and the United Kingdom (Flamingo).
Anju Bobby George
25 year-old Anju Bobby George created history after winning a bronze medal in the World Athletic Championships at Paris.Anju had previously won a medal at the Commonwealth Games and a gold at the Busan Asiad Games . With a string of excellent performances in international events and some encouraging jumps which measure up to world standards, during training sessions, Anju George is all set to create history at the Athens Olympics in 2004.