Celebrating International Women’s Day in South Asia

On the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8th March AWO International’s partners in South Asia conducted various activities to draw attention on the ongoing discrimination against women and girls.

In Bangladesh WARBE Development Foundation organised a Solidarity Human Chain & Rally and Discussion Meeting at National Press Club. Representatives from Parliamentarian Caucus, respective institutions of the government, I/NGOs, private sector, trade union, associations and networks of migrant workers, media and domestic women migrant workers would participate in this human chain and discussion meeting.  Over 100 people took part in raising voice for the rights and protection of women migrant workers at home and abroad. The program was a joint initiative of AWO International, British Council & PROKAS.

Also our partner organisations in Nepal, MAITI Nepal, Pourakhi and NEEDS Nepal, implemented activities across the country. Despites strong Unions women in Nepal are facing several challenges such as wage discrimination, gender violence and gender inequality. Despite gruelling hours of back breaking work and carrying more responsibility than men, the women in Nepal have always been underestimated by the society. Nepali women still earn 57% less than their male counterparts despite sharing equal workload. Around 48% women experience gender based violence in their lifetime. The Government of Nepal has made a number of commitments at the international level to ensure gender equality and to curb violence against women by passing international human rights instruments including Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). But its effective implementation is far behind. “Women in Nepal have yet to go a long way in order to achieve gender equality. Nevertheless the women won’t give up”, said Rejina Joshi, AWO International’s Project Coordinator.

Madhyam Foundation in Odhisa, India also conducted different kinds of activities in the project area. Street dramas were performed and over 10 Cooperative Members joint information sessions on the history and political dimension of International Women’s day in their villages. In addition, a “Rangoli competition” was organised. Rangoli” is a traditional art form used during some auspicious occasion or holidays to welcome the God/Goddesses as well as guests and also to decorate the front yard of the home. Women in India are also facing severe discrimination and in rural areas girls are still seen as a burden for their families since the actually abolished practise of dowry is still in place. Every year thousands of female fetus are aborted, despite high penalties.