In Honour of Women on International Women’s Day

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Saturday 1377  – 8.03.2014

Many of you, who have been following this blog for a while, will remember that last year , on International Women’s Day,  I attended the Million Women Rise march in London and wrote about it here  ( warning – one of the photos is difficult to view) 

I was not able to attend this year but I did not want to let the day pass without writing about it so this afternoon I took myself off to a large supermarket car park and stalked  randomly selected a diverse range of women of all ages and ethnicity to photograph for this post.  It was rather daunting approaching complete strangers and a few were not best pleased !!

I’m delighted to say that the lovely women you see above said yes and I would like to sincerely thank them for being so utterly agreeable and kind to this stranger.

I chose these women to represent their sisters throughout the world who are living in very different circumstances.  Some may, and do, ask why do we need a day specifically for women and the answer is because women are still a very long way from being equal in this world and we all need to keep drawing attention to this until it’s no longer necessary.

A few facts :-

  • According to the World Health Organisation, 35.6% of women worldwide, shockingly more than a third, will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.
  • According to the Office of National statistics here in the UK approx 85000 women in England and Wales are raped every year with over 400,000 being sexually assaulted. More shocking statistics, thought to be underestimated too.
  • Women do 66% of the worlds work and produce 50% of the world’s food but get only 10% of overall income and own 1% of property.
  • Women hold less than 19% of parliamentary seats worldwide with just 16 of the 188 world’s elected leaders being female.

Hardly seems right for 51%  of the world’s population does it? 

So this is why we have an International Women’s day and we don’t have an International Men’s day. 49% of the world’s population, namely men, have the other 364 days already it seems.  

Now this post is not about knocking men ( I LOVE men ! ) it’s about loving women. More importantly it’s about encouraging men to respect women and it’s especially about encouraging both men and women to teach their sons to respect women and their daughters that they absolutely deserve this respect. 

Teaching  both boys and girls that women are equals in this world is the most important message I want to get across because, without that, women will continue to be treated as second class citizens and that clearly is the most terrible injustice and has to stop.

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Thanks again to the wonderful women in the photos above and to all of you for reading. As ever I welcome your thoughts .

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Saturday girl signing off.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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Come on all you lovely men out there, Ring the Bell !

Saturday 1428 – 16th March 2013

one million men one million promises

Last week I was at the Million Women Rise march in London which was highlighting the endemic nature, around the world, of violence against women. You can read my article here  and in it I said “Come on men where are you “.  This was really my way of asking what 49% of the world’s population-the males of the human species – are doing about the violence against women by their fellow man.  We all know there are lots of women’s groups fighting for equality but where are the mens groups.

patrick-stewart1Well, my dear blogging friend Scilla http://scillagrace.com/  told me, in a comment on the original post, about the global “Ring the Bell” campaign so I’ve done a bit of research and thought how great it would be to share this with you all.

The campaign was launched on the 8th March, International women’s day and it also coincided with the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Actor and activist Sir Patrick Stewart was one of the people who launched the campaign and he made a rousing speech at the event, which took place in New York at the UN Hotel, during which he slapped his hand on the podium 9 times saying “Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States ” The campaign is calling on One Million Men to make one million “concrete, actionable promises” aimed at ending violence against women”

He said “Violence against women is the single greatest human rights violation of our  generation. This is a call to action—not an act that will make  things better in six months or a year’s time. This is action that might save a  life today, or tonight, or tomorrow.”

Mr Stewart is involved because he witnessed his father physically abusing his mother when he was a small child and learnt to gauge the temperature of a situation –

“I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my  father’s fist and my mother’s body,” Stewart said that his father “was  unable to control his emotions—and his hands.” and he was clear that his mother did nothing to provoke the violence and as he rightly pointed out even if she did violence is no way to solve conflict. This story could be repeated by millions others I am sure.

He went on to talk about his father being an eminent soldier and suffering from diagnosed shell-shock, for which he received no treatment. Though he was not excusing his father’s behaviour he was, I believe, highlighting the need for help for men to identify why they are violent so they can be stopped .  Recent research has shown that military men are far more likely to abuse than civilians, hardly surprising when war brutalises and dehumanises people.

You can watch and listen to the whole launch if you have a mind to, it’s very interesting with lots of different speakers.. The link is here

If you click on the photo below it will bring you through to the United Nations where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says

“Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.” 

united nations campaign to end violence against women.

I was so very encouraged by these movements and I hope they grow and grow until the violence stops..

I was saddened though that I knew so little about this. Did you know?? Has the UN movement been widely advertised ? If it has I have missed it.

when men gatherSo to all my male friends and followers there is most definitely something you can do.

You can make a promise here to take action in whatever way you can to end violence against women.. 

Men need to confront other men and encourage change.

 Links

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2013/3/prweb10508301.htm

http://www.inquisitr.com/563999/sir-patrick-stewart-calls-on-one-million-men-to-end-violence-against-women/

http://breakthrough.tv/ringthebell/

http://breakthrough.tv/explore/campaign/bell-bajao/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/opinion/mcpherson-men-domestic-violence

http://www.witness.org/

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Saturday Girl signing off now. Let us all, men and women, be the change we want to see in the world. ‘Til next week…

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already..