Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and the official theme for this year is “Equality for women is progress for all.”
The origin of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900’s and now every year on March 8, people around the world rally together to commemorate and support women. International Women’s Day is not only a time to celebrate achievements, but also a time to reflect on the progress made and call for increased changes. From women’s rights and gender equality to abuse and sex trafficking, various social, political, and economic issues concerning women are highlighted and become points of discussion (and even protest) around IWD.
The Millennium Development Goals call for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and during the IWD opening ceremony at the United Nations today, Hilary Clinton, known for being a champion of women, said “women and girls and the cause of gender equality must be at the heart” of the UN’s agenda to promote development around the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed her sentiments, saying in his message, “This International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.”
This plays nicely into the ongoing debate on the post-2015 development agenda. We all know there are major issues around the access, quality, and availability of health services to women in developing countries, and that these issues are often further complicated by cultural and religious norms. I think it’s safe to say that although IWD is only one day a year, the discussion on women’s rights as a core component of global development will continue. It is essential.
Here’s a roundup of some IWD 2014 content in case you missed it:
“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” — Charles Malik
What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments below.
Increasing access to family planning will play a central role in achieving UN targets for maternal health, eradication of poverty, education and gender equality, according to a major series on Family Planning published by The Lancet.
UNICEF celebrated its 65th anniversary on December 11, 2011 (Source: http://www.unicefusa.org/news/news-from-the-field/unicef-at-65-looking-back.html).
Politics and Policies
- The US Department of Health and Human Services announced that, beginning in 2014, states will be allowed a basic set of essential health benefits for millions of Americans who would qualify for coverage through state based insurance exchanges (Source: http://www.politicalnewsnow.com/2011/12/17/states-to-weigh-in-on-basic-health-coverage-reuters/).
- The US National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first ever nation-wide ban on drive use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle (Source: http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2011/111213.html).
- The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) have opposed a rule that required the health care facilities workers to have an annual influenza vaccine or they lose their jobs (Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/14/idUS205180+14-Dec-2011+GNW20111214).
- First United Nations (UN) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, titled, “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, A.HRC.19.41.” was released on Wednesday, December 15th, 2011 (Source: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=35274).
- The United States Conference of Mayors issued a report indicating emergency food assistance increased over the past year by an average of 15%. This report, prepared by City Policy Associates, contains each city (29 cities) survey report with their individual profiles – median household income, the metro unemployment rate, the monthly foreclosure rate, percentage of people in city who fall below the poverty line and contact information for individual service providers (Source: http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/20111215-release-hhr-en.pdf).
- The IMF has published a Staff Discussion Note on economic growth and income inequality. The note argues that while a certain degree of income inequality can help drive markets, excessive inequality can lead to unsustainable growth (Source: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2011/sdn1108.pdf).
- Research shows link between smoking and skin cancer in women (Source: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/healthcare/studies/story/2011-12-16/Smoking-linked-to-skin-cancer-in-women/52010190/1).
- Key interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths identified in three year study “Essential interventions, commodities and guidelines for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health” (Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/reduce_maternal_deaths_20111215/en/).
- A significant improvement in factors related to metabolism and heart health was seen in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, when they wore face mask during their slumber hours, according to a research published in New England Journal of Medicine (Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/239280.php).
- Two out of three Americans fear of global disease out breaks, according to a study conducted by EcoHealth Alliance (Source: http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2011/12/survey-assesses-americans-fear-of-global-disease-outbreaks.aspx).
- Study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, Chewing Chat, a natural plant-derived stimulant, increase risk of death and stroke in heart disease patients (Source: http://newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/herbal-amphetamine-increases-risk-220305.aspx).
- A surveillance study from 2007-08 flu season indicates that people on statins (lipid control drug) protected against flu (Source: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/general/news/dec1511statin.html).
Diseases and Disasters
- More than 430 people died due to the flooding caused by tropical storm in Philippines (Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/typhoons-philippines-drowning-victims.html).
- Louisiana state officials issued a warning about dangers of using tap water of nasal irrigation using neti pot after two people died of infection by “brain eating amoeba” (Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/InfectionControl/30283).
- According to the first National Diabetes audit (U.K.) about three-quarters of avoidable diabetes-related deaths occur in people over 65 years of age (Source: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/interactive/news/up-to-24000-diabetes-related-deaths-are-avoidable-id801239169-t116.html).
- World Health Organization (WHO) report reveals 655,000 deaths in 2010 due to Malaria and Africa accounted for 91% of deaths. UN health agency claims to eradicate this deadly disease by the end of the year 2015 (Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/655-000-malaria-deaths-2010-africa-accounted-91-percent-deaths-article-1.991359).
- In his interview, Oliver Aubry, MSF head of mission in the Central African Republic, says Central Africais in a state of health emergency. Mortality rate reaches emergency levels (Sources: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5665&cat=field-news, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=5669&cat=press-release).
- More than 100 people died of drinking contaminated liquor in the villages of West Bengal, India (Sources: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/dec/15/bootleg-booze-kills-143-in-eastern-india/, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/15/india-hooch-idUSL3E7NF2SC20111215).
- Malaysia’s Fourth National Health and Morbidity survey report reveal the unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits of Malaysian’s (Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/16/nation/10109475&sec=nation).
- The International Diabetes Federation president-elect said by 2025, 380 million people will have diabetes, with the greatest burden falling on low and middle-income countries (Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg7_23).
- Pakistanfacing acute threat of bird flu infection, though no warnings have been issued yet (Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg7_2).
These headlines were compiled by Vani Nanda, MPH Candidate at West Chester University PA.