2015 is a thrilling year for Asia Initiative’s blog. As a part of our monthly blog posts, we will be launching three blog series to take you on a journey with Asia Initiatives. The first of these series is AI Thoughts, an insider’s look on AI’s engagement with and understanding of current affairs. We hope that you are as excited to hear about our experiences and thoughts as we are to share them!
International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8th, is a day of recognition for women’s achievements, rights and strong role in the global community. At the same time, it is a day of awareness for gender inequality, injustice and the difficult realities that thousands of women face everyday. While we understand the importance of celebrating women we must also acknowledge that, despite global efforts, gender discrimination is still prevalent in many societies and that inequality will not stop for a day of celebration. At Asia Initiatives we strive to empower not only the women that we support but also our volunteers and Board members on a daily basis.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen”. While International Women’s Day is an absolute necessity for our global community as it gives gratitude and acknowledgement to women who face adversity, we must also acknowledge that it can also spur further controversy. A strong example of this is the imprisoning of at least eight female activists in China on International Women’s Day who supported and fought for a variety of women’s rights including the movement against domestic abuse. At the same time, instead of acknowledging the power of women, International Women’s Day has often been transformed into a comical event, where men run in heels in shopping malls. How are we supposed to “Make It Happen” when women are continuously ridiculed and degraded by not only the other sex, but other females as well? We continue in our collective fight for women.
“Make It Happen” was created to encourage “effective action for advancing and recognizing women”. To AI, “Make It Happen” encompasses a variety of goals that we have for the women around us including women’s empowerment, equality and strength in all environments. We hope that this can be fought for, if not achieved, with the help of all individuals involved in Asia Initiatives by allowing them to “Make It Happen”. To “Make It Happen” however, female empowerment cannot solely come from specific individuals or organizations but has to be a collective movement by females and males, NPOs, corporations and governments. We hope that by reading this article you feel empowered to support the women around you and women as a collective whole.
As an International Women’s Day initiative, we at Asia Initiatives would like for our readers to show support to the women around them. Whether it is through a kind gesture or comment, let them know how much they are valued and appreciated in your lives. Let us truly make this an international celebration of the past, present and future achievements that women have and will accomplish, and continue to fight for a world in which gender inequality is no longer a concept or reality.
– Maya Daver Massion is a Junior Board Member of Asia Initiatives and student at Barnard College of Columbia University