Cardijn Community International greets each one of you and all women in your families on the occasion of the International Women’s Day which is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievement of women.
Plight of women
Though there has been advancement in the condition of women since the first International Women’s Day in 1911, still a lot has to be achieved. The social, economic and political structures including religion are male dominated and women are not allowed their due role.
Women and children are the first victims of hunger and poverty, diseases and conflicts. Thousands of women are caught up in war zones, riots and conflicts and are being killed. Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, Pakistan and the list goes on. AIDS affects women not only directly but indirectly when their men folk get the dreaded disease. 1.1 billion people lack drinking water at the world level and 2.6 billion people lack proper sanitation. These conditions force additional burden on women developing countries. The plight of women in the rural as well as urban slums who do not have proper housing and toilet facilities and have to depend on open toilets is unimaginable.
Technology and mass media are being used to present women as objects of pleasure and attraction.
Cause of poverty
Such conditions pose a grave threat to the dignity of women. Women constitute almost 50% of the world population but they are not allowed to actively participate in the economic, political and social spheres on a par with men; this non-utilization of 50% of world’s potential work force is the main cause of poverty in the world.
Economic crisis - fall out of exclusion of women
The economic system itself is male oriented. Women face the consequences of this male dominated system but they are denied a role in the decision making process. It is ironical that women own less than 1 (one) per cent of the world’s property. This explains the reason for the present economic melt down the world is facing. Instead of bailing out failing economies, it will be worth the effort if legislative and administrative provisions are made for participation of women on an equal footing with men at all levels.
If only women are allowed their due share, many of the world’s problems could be overcome. Let us hope that the International Women’s Day will be an occasion to showcase the power of womanhood to the world and to start a process of change. Allowing women to play their equal part is not just in their own interest but in the interest of the entire humanity.
CCI on its part will continue to work towards gender equality and human dignity.
March 8, 2009