though they make up half the population, women and girls have endured discrimination
in most societies for thousands of years. In the past, women were treated as property
of their husbands or fathers - they couldn't own land, they couldn't vote or go
to school, and they could be beaten and abused. Over the last hundred years, much
progress has been made to gain equal rights for women around the world, but many
still live without the rights to which all people are entitled.
Women's Day on March 8 is an opportunity to celebrate the victories for equality
that women have won, and to rededicate our commitment to eliminate discrimination
United Nations Charter was a major milestone for women's rights because it was
the first international agreement to affirm the equality between men and women.
Since then, the UN has been an important advocate for the rights of women, adopting
an international bill of rights for women in 1979 and sponsoring four global women's
conferences. The Millennium Development Goals, which all nations agreed to at
the UN in 2000, sets tangible goals for nations to achieve by 2015, several of
which deal directly with empowering women.
Women's Day and Women's Equality Day, celebrated on August 26, commemorating the
certification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, are important
points to build support for the rights of women everywhere.