(Olive Branch) March 8 is International Women’s Day, a date that goes back to 1909 to commemorate women’s achievements. Although the date moved around the idea held as women in many countries sought to improve their lives.

In major cities of Europe and the United States women marched for the right to vote, to improve working con ditions, against hunger, and, as World War I approached, for peace.

In later years it became the date to commemorate 123 working women who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York in 1911. The women, mostly immigrants and poor, perished in flames because the factory owners locked the doors to prevent thefts. Concern for the women rated less than the price of a blouse.

Women all over the world have gained rights since that tragedy. But equality between men and women is still lagging. This disparity is obvious in certain third world countries where basics like health care and education are denied to girls and women, or where they are forced into child marriages and child bearing or killed by their families to save their honor. But look at the more advanced, and educated part of the world and count the number of women engaged in national and international decision making.

International Olympic Committee. Count the women.
Meeting of CELAC, presidents and foreign ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean. Count the women.
Peace Conference on the Middle East, 1916, even though United Resolution 1325calls for women in the peace process. Count the women.
Meeting to negotiate peace in Venezuela. Count the women.
Science meeting, Japan. Count the women.
Nobel prize winners. Count the women.
The Costa Rican ballot 2018. Count the women.

We women still have issues to resolve.

*Olive Branch is the collective name for members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Costa Rican section. WILPF was founded in 1915 in the Hague to promote peace and the advancement of women. We’re still working on both. Contact us at peacewomen@gmail.com.


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