All About International Women's Day

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International Women's Day is celebrated on 8th March every year.

It is a day to commemorate women's achievements around the world, and draw attention to the struggles of women to achieve equality, in particular in countries where women's rights are an important political issue. It is a chance to remember the many women whose voices go unheard, and who continue to be excluded from realising their full potential.

In 1908 in Chicago "Women's Day" was held on 3rd May. Around 1500 women took part, highlighting "the demands for economical and political equality of women, on the day dedicated to the female workers' causes." From this grew International Women's Day which was first celebrated in 1911. It gained momentum from protests against sweat shops and child labour by American textile workers.

The United Nations officially recognised 8th March as International Women's Day in 1977. Today it is marked by events around the world. The symbol is a purple ribbon and each year has a different theme. In 2015 the theme was Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!" The theme for 2016 is "Make It Happen".

Ten facts about women for International Women's Day:

  • Women live longer. The worldwide life expectancy for women is 72.7 years, according to the United Nations, and 68.3 for men.
  • Worldwide slightly more boy babies are born than girls (107 boys to every 100 girls).
  • Currently, Martinique has the highest ratio of women to men, with 100 women to every 84.5 men. The United Arab Emirates has the lowest with 100 women to every 274 men. (UN [Link: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/] )
  • Worldwide there are 1.75 billion women in the labour force but on average they earn 24% less than men.
  • Only 50% of countries worldwide have, or have had, a female leader. The UK has only had one female Prime Minister and there are currently only 191 female Members of Parliament (MPs), out of a total of 650. This means the UK comes a terrible 43rd out of 186 for gender representation (UN [http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/] ). The most impressive country is Rwanda where 64% of politicians are women. Next up is Bolivia, with 54%, and Andorra, which has an equal 50% split between men and women.
  • Women first got the vote in the UK in 1918. Last year women were finally allowed to vote in Saudi Arabia. But they still cannot open a bank account, drive, try on clothes while shopping, or go anywhere without a male chaperone.
  • Ada Lovelace (1815-1952) is described as "the first computer programmer". Her contribution to Babbage's 'Analytical Engine' (a kind of mechanical computer) led to the development of computers and the internet as we know it today.

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