Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Happy International Women’s Day AND A Day Without a Woman!

March 8, 2017

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Today is International Women’s Day, a day to recognize the achievements of women everywhere while also acknowledging the systemic oppression they continue to face across the world. As always, I’m celebrating International Women’s Day with the women that I’ve written books about: Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and now Catwoman!

All three women could definitely get behind this year’s official theme on the International Women’s Day website, which is #BeBoldForChange. They explain:

Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.

The United Nations celebrates International Women’s Day as well, and their theme for the year is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” The UN has a variety of goals for their 2030 Agenda, including:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

It’s a bold list, to be sure, and one very much worth pursuing.

This year, the folks behind the fantastic Women’s March last January are getting in on the International Women’s Day fun as well by holding “A Day Without A Woman” to recognize the value of women. It’s a three pronged event which you can support in these ways:

  • Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  • Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  • Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

Some people can’t take the day off, of course, which is why it’s great to see that they’ve got a solidarity option. Wearing red is a clear and simple way to express your support for women across the world, and our three comic book heroines are definitely on board.

Wonder Woman’s been wearing red since her very first appearance in 1941. It’s her go-to color choice for bustiers and boots, as we can see here at the end of her debut in All-Star Comics #8:

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Lois Lane’s commitment to wearing red goes back even further, to her own first appearance back in 1938. She was wearing red at the office when Clark Kent asked her on a date:

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And she was wearing red later that evening when a goon tried to dance with her. She wasn’t in any mood for it; she didn’t even want to be out with Clark, much less have some other dope get all up in her space:

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While Wonder Woman and Lois Lane have been showing solidarity for ages with their red outfits, Catwoman’s never been much for red. She’s worn a lot of black and purple, and even green and orange at times, but red has never been her primary color. She has used it for accessories, though. In Batman #210 in 1969, Catwoman debuted a new pair of red goggles:

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The outfit didn’t last for long, but the red has recently returned to the lenses of her goggles, as we can see on this cover from last year’s Catwoman #48:

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She’s subtle about it, but Catwoman’s on board for “A Day Without a Woman” too!

Happy International Women’s Day everyone, and cheers to all of the women participating in today’s general strike as well as all of those who can’t but who are nonetheless showing their solidarity!

Wonder Woman Is No Longer An Honorary UN Ambassador, And That’s Some BS

December 13, 2016

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A month and a half ago, Wonder Woman was named an Honorary United Nations Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls in a special ceremony in New York City. The event tied in with the character’s 75th anniversary and was a big to-do all around; it marked the beginning of a great initiative to empower girls all over the world, and Lynda Carter, Gal Gadot, and Patty Jenkins were all on hand to celebrate Wonder Woman’s appointment. Current Wonder Woman artist Nicola Scott also drew a gorgeous piece that was used as a key part of the new campaign. It was all very lovely, and there was talk of big plans for Wonder Woman and the campaign throughout 2017. Then yesterday, news broke that Wonder Woman was out as an honorary ambassador.

Many have pointed out that honorary ambassadorships tend to have a short shelf life; a climate change campaign earlier this year that featured one of the Angry Birds barely lasted two days. But most articles seem to be placing the blame for Wonder Woman’s removal on a group of UN staffers who started a petition against her appointment. The October ceremony itself was protested, and the petition went on to gather nearly 45,000 signatures. The petition said in part:

Although the original creators may have intended Wonder Woman to represent a strong and independent “warrior” woman with a feminist message, the reality is that the character’s current iteration is that of a large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots –the epitome of a “pin-up” girl.

Now, I can see their point on certain issues. Superheroes are very much an American genre, and making a white woman bedecked in elements of American symbolism the face of a global initiative isn’t without its issues. She’s become a global symbol over the decades, with her upcoming film set to push that even further, but I understand that at first glance people might just see her star spangled outfit and white skin and decide she’s a poor fit for a global issue.

However, “at first glance” is the key phrase here. This is a petition written by some ill-informed folks who appear to have done little more than google image searched Wonder Woman and perhaps scanned her Wikipedia article for a second. Beyond the American imagery, Wonder Woman is very much a citizen of the world who represents the values of the United Nations. She’s not even American; she’s an immigrant. And her superhero domain is global. She’s not Spider-Man, swinging around New York City all the time. Wonder Woman’s adventures constantly take her all over the world. Moreover, she’s actually been a UN ambassador in the comics, making her an ideal icon for the organization.

And the “large breasted,” “thigh-baring,” “pin-up girl” angle is just foolishness. While there have been incarnations of Wonder Woman that depicted her in an exaggerated, overly sexualized manner, that is most definitely not the core of the character. Especially right now, with Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp drawing Wonder Woman. And as much as there have been occasional rough patches with the art, the public’s image of Wonder Woman is more based in adaptations. Lynda Carter brought grace and elegance to the character and her costume, while Gal Gadot brings a regal strength. These characters aren’t real; they are only what we make of them. And by choosing to focus on poor depictions of Wonder Woman and describing her in these terms, the authors of this petition are reducing the character solely to her physical appearance and completely missing who she is and what she means. It’s a disappointingly sexist angle and wholly uninformed.

(Also, Tinkerbell was named an honorary UN ambassador a few years back without protest and her costume covers the same amount of area as Wonder Woman’s, so come on).

The United Nations is currently in the midst of some controversy about female representation, with a man being named the next Secretary General yet again, and people there are understandably irked. But this is the wrong place to channel that frustration. Of all the stands to take in the face of real world sexism, taking down a fictional character who’s inspired fans for decades seems rather silly. Wonder Woman is THE female superhero. She’s an icon of feminism and female strength and power. Regardless of the degree that this petition affected the end of her ambassadorship, it’s sad that the petition exists in the first place and that it’s getting increased attention now. Wonder Woman is a great character and her honorary ambassadorship was a fitting, exciting appointment, and it’s just disappointing that it’s over so soon.

Wonder Woman Named Honorary UN Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls on her 75th Anniversary

October 21, 2016

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Happy 75th anniversary, Wonder Woman! On or about 75 years ago today, Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics #8 in a brief story written by William Moulton Marston with art by H.G. Peter. The story introduced the utopian Paradise Island, home of the mythical Amazons who departed the world of men thousands of years ago because of the constant greed and wars of men. When an American pilot crash landed on the island, Athena and Aphrodite told Queen Hippolyte that an Amazon champion must be chosen to return him to America and help the Allies fight the Axis forces of tyranny. Diana, princess of the Amazons, became this champion, and the world’s most famous heroine was born.

Since then, Wonder Woman’s become a beloved icon the world over. As the best known female superhero in a genre dominated by men, she’s been the go-to favourite for generations of girls who grew up seeing her in comics and television shows. She’s a feminist icon as well. Wonder Woman was created to demonstrate the superiority of women, and embodied the strength inherent in women that Marston contended would soon lead to a matriarchal revolution in America. She later became a mascot of the women’s liberation movement when Ms. Magazine put her on its first cover in 1972, and she’s spent decades teaching her fans to be strong, kind, and brave.

In recognition of Wonder Woman’s iconic status, the United Nations celebrated Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary today by naming her an “Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was on hand for the event, as were DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, TV’s original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, and star of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, Gal Gadot. Both Wonder Women spoke at the ceremony, with Carter proclaiming that “Wonder Woman lives in every woman,” and Gadot saying that “Wonder Woman is a fighter, better than most, but it’s what she fights for that is important.”

The role is a good fit for Wonder Woman, who worked at the United Nations in the comics starting in Wonder Woman #204 in 1973. Here she is getting a job as a linguist from a dude who clearly wished one of the other, less dowdy gals was more qualified. Ah, sexism. Wonder Woman’s constant foe:

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As Wonder Woman, she’s made several comic book appearances at the UN in the decades since to speak about global issues and advocate for peace.

And now she’s a UN Ambassador for real, as part of their “Stand Up for the Empowerment of Women and Girls Everywhere” campaign. The program seeks to speak out against discrimination and limitations on women and girls, work against gender-based violence and abuse, support full and effective participation and equal opportunity for women and girls in leadership in all aspects of life, including the workplace, ensure all women and girls have access to quality learning, and celebrate women and girls who have and are making a difference every day. You can learn more about the campaign and what you can do to help at the United Nations website.

I think that Wonder Woman is a great choice to be the face of this campaign. Some have taken issue with her honorary appointment, arguing that her small outfit and her exaggerated proportions in certain incarnations make her a poor role model for young girls. But Wonder Woman has been inspiring women and girls for decades, and at her core she represents all of the values the campaign seeks to promote. There is a power in Wonder Woman that resonates all over the world, and it often serves to bring out the best in those who admire her and all she stands for.

With a great comic book on the stands and a movie on the horizon, it’s a fantastic time to be a Wonder Woman fan, and her UN appointment is a cherry on the top of what should be an excellent 75th year for Wonder Woman. All of the celebrations and attention are much deserved, and it’s wonderful to see that yet another generation of young fans will be inspired by Wonder Woman moving forward.

 

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Wonder Woman and Lois Lane

March 8, 2016

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Today is International Women’s Day, a day for recognizing the many achievements of women today and throughout history, and also for addressing the serious issues and limitations that women still face all over the world. And who better to celebrate the day with than DC Comics’ two greatest heroines, Wonder Woman and Lois Lane!

Both women are very much onboard for the themes of this year’s International Women’s Day. On the main site for International Women’s Day, this year’s campaign is all about a #PledgeforParity, to close the gender gap in the workplace and government. They suggest:

Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.

A key component of the #PledgeforParity campaign is to “value women and men’s contributions equally” by closing the wage gap, something Wonder Woman would be all about. Back in Sensation Comics #8 in 1942, Diana Prince heard about a local company that was underpaying their female workers, so she went to talk to their boss about it:

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He pointed Diana toward the store’s owner, Gloria Bullfinch, and she soon got a visit from Diana Prince’s alter ego, Wonder Woman:

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Wonder Woman used her golden lasso to hypnotize Gloria into thinking that she was a worker at her business, allowing her to experience the poor conditions and meager pay of her employees. Her lesson learned, Gloria made things right with her workers, all thanks to Diana and Wonder Woman:

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This year, the United Nations has a similar theme for International Women’s Day: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Key targets of this initiative include:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

In his annual International Women’s Day message, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon celebrated the achievements of women, writing that “we have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers.” But he also notes:

In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished. […] On this International Women’s Day, I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls – but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement. Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.

Ban Ki-moon’s theme of shattering glass ceilings would certainly resonate with Lois Lane, who faced an uphill battle to do so at the Daily Planet. In the years following her 1938 debut in Action Comics #1, Lois was relegated to the lovelorn column of the paper but wanted to be a star reporter. Unfortunately, a man was in her way, thwarting her at every turn:

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Clark Kent was also Superman, which made Lois’ goals even more difficult to attain. He also had no sympathy for his co-worker, telling Lois to just be happy that she survived the perils she hoped to write about:

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But after years of perseverance, Lois made it to the front page and became an ace reporter. She got so good at getting big scoops that soon Clark was fearing for his own job:

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Of course, many women today face more ominous circumstances than those in Wonder Woman and Lois Lane’s Golden Age adventures, and we should follow up our celebration of these great heroines by doing all we can to support the goals of this year’s International Women’s Day campaigns. Check out the links above for more information on what you can do to help change the world!

Happy International Women’s Day 2014!

March 8, 2014

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Today is the 103rd International Women’s Day, a day to both celebrate the many achievements of women and to address the myriad limitations and oppressive situations that women continue to face all over the world.  The United Nations’ theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Equality for Women is Progress for All,” and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dropped some knowledge in his annual message:

Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.  Companies with more women leaders perform better.  Peace agreements that include women are more durable.  Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.

The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.

He ended with a clear call to action that declared equal rights for women are the responsibility of all:

A baby girl born today will still face inequality and discrimination, no matter where her mother lives.  We have a common obligation to ensure her right to live free from the violence that affects one in three women globally; to earn equal pay for equal work; to be free of the discrimination that prevents her from participating in the economy; to have an equal say in the decisions that affect her life; and to decide if and when she will have children, and how many she will have.

I have a message for every girl born today, and to every woman and girl on the planet: realizing human rights and equality is not a dream, it is a duty of Governments, the United Nations and every human being.

I also have a message for my fellow men and boys: play your part.  All of us benefit when women and girls — your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues — can reach their full potential.

Together, let us work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development.  Equality for women is progress for all!

When Wonder Woman was first created, she leaped past equality and instead advocated for the superiority of women; she was created as a harbinger of what William Moulton Marston thought was an inevitable matriarchal revolution.  However, with time she’s become a symbol for equality, especially when Ms. magazine made Wonder Woman a feminist icon in the early 1970s.  Since then, Wonder Woman and equality have gone hand in hand:

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Wonder Woman’s also become a symbol for a different kind of equality through this great, iconic image by Glen Hanson that celebrated marriage equality:

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Progress towards equality for women is being made every day, but there’s still lot of work left to do.  You can learn much more at the UN’s International Women’s Day website, as well as at www.internationalwomensday.com.

Happy International Women’s Day 2013!!

March 8, 2013

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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:

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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:

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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.

It’s International Women’s Day, And Wonder Woman Is Totally On Board

March 8, 2012

It’s the 101st International Women’s Day!!  The United Nations’ theme for this year is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon writes in his annual International Women’s Day message:

There is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that are their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s rural areas.  Rural women and girls — to whom this year’s International Women’s Day is devoted — make up one quarter of the global population, yet routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator, from income and education to health to participation in decision-making.

He closes with:

The energy, talent and strength of women and girls represent humankind’s most valuable untapped natural resource.

Which is so very true.  It’s sad/downright deplorable that this is how things still are in 2012, but good that it’s being said.

So do you know who’s ALL over helping rural women?  This gal:

Since the DC relaunch, Wonder Woman has done nothing but help a rural woman!!  Protecting Zola has been her only mission.  In upcoming issues, Wonder Woman’s fixing to go into the gates of Hell itself to save a rural woman from the grip of Hades.  Wonder Woman is 100% on board for this year’s UN International Women’s Day theme, and is actually impressively prescient with it too.   That’s Wonder Woman for you, always ahead of the game.

To learn more about International Women’s Day and what you can do, visit the United Nations page or the International Women’s Day website where the them is “connecting girls, inspiring futures”.


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