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Ethiopia on Thursday marked International Women’s Day under the motto ‘Connecting girls, inspiring futures.’
“When we celebrate women’s day we usually focus on bringing awareness to violence against women but for this year we wanted to focus more on the success stories of women in different areas,” said Saba Gebremedhin, Director of Network of Ethiopian Women Association (NEWA), of this year’s theme.
This year’s March 8 celebrations aim to bring successful women together with others who could be inspired to do more in their lives. “Women can learn from each other, if we celebrate women’s achievement it will also show that equality is not just a word that is thrown around for the liberation of women, it is a fact,” Saba says.
The celebration was held for the 101st time internationally and for the 36th time nationally.
The celebratory flyers and posters feature the Ethiopian Women’s National Team, better known as Lucy. “We decided to feature the team because they are a perfect example of success in an area that is dominated by men. The Ethiopian women’s team is actually getting better results than the men’s team now,” said Saba.
The director also stressed that because this year’s celebration focused on women success stories, it does not mean that the association is abandoning campaigns against violence on women.“We have been working on getting better court room justice for women who are attacked, and as such we have been following Aberash Hailay’s case for example. The verdict of the case was very mild for the kind of crime that was committed.
“Aberash was a victim of a gruesome attack by her ex-husband that left her blind. “Some cases get better verdicts than others that’s why we are working to ensure that all women get fair justice,” said Saba.
March 8 has been celebrated since the early 1900’s. This year’s was marked across the world with leaders calling for more efforts to boost women’s leadership.
“The day should remind us that much work lies ahead to achieve true gender equality,” said Catherin Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, in a statement.
“Across the world women make up more than 80 percent of domestic workers, some 44 million in total and their numbers are growing under the pressure of demographic and societal changes. This is widening income inequalities, family-unfriendly workplaces and inadequate public policies,” says Manuela Tomie, Director of the International Organization’s Labor Protection Department on her part.
“On International women’s Day, governments and employers of domestic workers can send a clear message to millions of women who work in our homes that ‘helpers’ too are entitled to decent working conditions and to live in dignity” added Tomei.
The United States’ top diplomat Secretary Hillary Clinton touts “enormous progresses in recent years that see women contributing to human rights protection across the globe.”
“In the last year alone, women have marched, blogged, tweeted, and risked their lives all in the name of dignity, rights, and opportunity. Last October, the Nobel Committee took the historic step of awarding the Peace Prize to three extraordinary women for their contributions in advancing human rights,” said Clinton. “But challenges still remain. Too many women have found their attempts to participate in government, in the economy, and in society blocked.”