Today is the 102nd International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women while continuing to fight to improve the lives of women the world over. Every year the United Nations picks a theme for International Women’s Day, and this year it’s “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explains in his annual message:
As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we must look back on a year of shocking crimes of violence against women and girls and ask ourselves how to usher in a better future.
One young woman was gang-raped to death. Another committed suicide out of a sense of shame that should have attached to the perpetrators. Young teens were shot at close range for daring to seek an education.
These atrocities, which rightly sparked global outrage, were part of a much larger problem that pervades virtually every society and every realm of life.
And in response, the United Nations makes the following pledge:
This year on International Women’s Day, we convert our outrage into action. We declare that we will prosecute crimes against women – and never allow women to be subjected to punishments for the abuses they have suffered. We renew our pledge to combat this global health menace wherever it may lurk – in homes and businesses, in war zones and placid countries, and in the minds of people who allow violence to continue.
Working to end violence against women is a fantastic theme for this year, especially after the many atrocious incidents we’ve seen lately. These dramatic and reprehensible events make it to the news, but we also need to remember that they’re dwarfed by the commonality of millions upon millions of smaller acts of violence against women worldwide each year. Even here in Canada, comparatively a pretty fantastic place to live, half of Canadian women over the age of 16 have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence. The insidious regularity of violence against women speaks to a larger problem that supercedes nationality or culture. We need to acknowledge the gender inequality that breeds this violence and raise awareness to counteract this hostile environment, while working to continue to improve the role of women in our society.
Now, as always, Wonder Woman is completely onboard for this year’s International Women’s Day theme. Hell, she was all over it 70 years ago!! In this scene from Wonder Woman #4 in 1943, a thuggish fellow fights with his girlfriend, Elva. He threatens her with a weapon, insults her, and slaps her:
Sad fact: Over 80% of dating violence victims are women. Similarly, over 80% of domestic assaults are against women, and women are three to four times more likely to be killed by their spouse than men. Luckily for Elva, Wonder Woman’s not going to let anyone be killed here, and she busts in and quickly turns the tables:
Unfortunately, superheroes aren’t real. No one with tights or a cape is arriving in the nick of time to stop violence against women. However, we can all follow Wonder Woman’s example and do our best to stop violence against women in any way we can. You can learn more at the UN’s International Women’s Day site or at internationalwomensday.com.