Liberian Women


Credit:   on Flickr, under Creative Commons

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)– In Monrovia, Liberia, women from 16 African countries started celebrating early this week with a on gender, climate change, land and forest tenures in Africa from March 4 to 6.

The gathering, led by Cécile Ndjebet of Cameroon, who founded a women’s network called that extends across 14 West and Central Africa countries, will culminate on March 8 with a rally and parade that will be met by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

While African women are often the majority of their countries’ agricultural work forces, many are left out of forest-resource and land-management decisions and they do not own their land. The group hopes to influence the government’s decision as it moves to adopt a new land ownership policy.

The event is held on March 8 because “the world will be listening to women on this day. It is the only globally recognized day to really highlight women,” said Julie Weah, executive director of the Foundation for Community Initiatives, in an email interview. The Liberian organization, a co-organizer of the event, works with women’s groups in rural forest communities.

The Twitter hashtag #IWD2014, for this year’s International Women’s Day, has been producing a gusher of promotions, research releases and a digital roll call for women’s advocacy groups.

On March 6, , a group of independent global leaders chaired by Kofi Annan and organized in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, held its first live for questions about women’s rights. Some using the #askElders hashtag drew answers from Desmond Tutu, the Anglican bishop, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

At one point, Carter touted his presidential record on appointing women.

Tutu pointed to his record of supporting female ordination.

‘Hammer and Persist’

An for events tied to International Women’s Day has announced the U.N.’s theme for 2014 of “inspiring change.” But for many event organizers, this year marks a time to hammer and persist.

Antiviolence activists organizing the march in London on
March 8
, for instance, are once again promising the demonstration will be “the biggest women’s march in Europe against male violence in all its forms.” The annual march, with the same focus, was first held in 2007.

The International Women’s Day hub site carries a roster of hundreds of events in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and India. It also offers a variety of graphics and widgets for organizers’ use.

More than two dozen countries list Women’s Day as an official holiday: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.

Events range from large street demonstrations such as Million Women Rise to online lectures, fitness events, symposia, film screenings and Twitter events.

On March 1, Women and Girls Lead and Eileen Fisher, Inc., began running an online film festival that will screen 12 documentaries about women and girls that can be accessed for free . The group offers to help anyone interested in hosting their own screenings and participate in the conversation through the Twitter hashtag #SheDocs.

In a forum for female journalists in New York, Women’s eNews contributor Cynthia Cooper will join others at a reading in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on the theme of “What we write about when not on assignment.”

In Freeport, Bahamas, women will be gathering on a bridge on March 8 for the fifth year to celebrate The event joins the international Join Me on the Bridge that began in 2010 when women from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda came together on a bridge that connected their two countries to express hope for peace between women in the two conflicted countries.

Technology Events, Mentoring Walks

, an online advocacy group for engineering and technology volunteers with offices in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., will be holding an advice forum for women in the field. Last year, the event attracted more than 900 participants in 74 countries. All of the group’s events take place through the Web in an effort to reach as many participants as possible.

, a global leadership group founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be hosting “” in more than 40 cities around the world so prominent women can walk together in their communities to discuss work, women’s leadership and the challenges they each faced in their progress. The group says Oscar-winning actress Sally Field, a member of the group’s board of directors, will be leading the walk in Washington, D.C., that starts at The Mall. Rena De Sisto, an executive at Bank of America, will be joining the event from Mexico City. “This is an opportunity to shine a light on the value mentoring can have,” De Sisto said in a phone interview. “It is a way for women to help each other by sharing their experiences and expertise.”

In Australia, , a group promoting women’s business leadership, will hold an art exhibition for works by women that reflect on women’s place in society. The event will take place in the Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst with a cash prizes between $450 and $2,200.

The first National Women’s Day took place Feb. 28, 1909, in the United States and was spearheaded by working women who protested their inequality and oppression and demanded shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Women’s workplace demands are once again in focus this year as Democrats in Congress press for an economic equity agenda, .

Women’s Day became international in 1911 in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the second International Conference of Working Women, which drew more than 100 women from 17 countries. It was suggested at the conference that the day be celebrated annually on the same day in every country.

The following year, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, drawing the participation of over one million men and women.

Russia‘s first day of celebration occurred in 1913, at the same time as the WWI campaign for peace. That year, it was agreed that International Women’s Day would take place globally on March 8, as it has remained ever since.

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