Educate to Empower and Enable Women and Girls
To celebrate International Women’s Day St Albans and District Soroptimists were joined by The Right Worshipful the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Councillor Annie Brewster, Margaret Chapman, Head of St Albans Girls School, Girl Guides, members of the Hertfordshire Asian Women’s Association plus many more friends and supporters who had been invited to “Join Women on the Bridge” in Verulamium Park St Albans. The theme for the day was “Educate to Empower and Enable Women and Girls”.
Undeterred by the recent flooding, the 50-strong group met on the bridge over the boating lake as a symbol of connecting with women all over the world. Everyone wore blue and attracted much attention as they marched with balloons, banners and placards through the park, singing and chanting with a guitar accompaniment and a megaphone!
After the march, at the “Inn on the Park” cafe there were speeches, presentations and cake cutting. The speeches by Soroptimist Ameeta Sabharwal, The Mayor Annie Brewster and Margaret Chapman Head of St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) all focused on education for girls locally and in a wider context and the value that it brings in enabling and empowering women and their communities world-wide.
Soroptimist, Ameeta Sabharwal, who was leading the event said “sadly even today, in the 21st century, there are countries where being born a girl is a life of hardship and disadvantage. It is for these girls and women we must stand strong in this task for humanity and to quote the UN ‘equality for women is progress for all’.”
The Mayor said “well done for inspiring so many women and for empowering them to not only make a difference to their own lives but to the lives of others.”
The book “I am Malala” was presented to the Mayor and to Margaret Chapman. To quote Malala Yousafzai, the brave young school girl from Pakistan who stood up to the Taliban to defend her right to an education:
“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
“In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education… it’s like a precious gift. It’s like a diamond’
The event was covered by the St Albans & Harpenden Review: www.stalbansreview.co.uk/news/11066007.Mayor_joins_march_for_International_Women_s_Day/
Our Soroptimist sisters in Warsaw also marked International Women’s Day with a “Join me on the Bridge” event – as a symbol of connecting with women all over the world.
For more images of the day from around Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland see: www.sigbi.org/2014/inspire-change/
Across the world thousands of Soroptimists mark International Women’s Day with hundreds of activities and events on and around 8 March – many of them stand in bridges in solidarity and as a symbol of the global connection with one another. In some countries just gathering like this puts their lives at risk. Events highlight the economic, political and social achievements of women, and raise awareness of work still to be done to build a better world for women and girls.
The first International Women’s Day events were run in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911 and were attended by over one million people. 102 years on, International Women’s Day (IWD) has become a global mainstream phenomena celebrated across many countries and is an official holiday in approximately 25 countries including Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March. Organisations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues, for more information see the website: www.internationalwomensday.com
To see what we did on International Women’s Day in 2013 click on the link IWD2013