UMW-organized march, rallies to mark International Women’s Day

NEW YORK — To mark International Women’s Day, United Methodist Women is among five organizations coordinating a March 8 rally and march near the United Nations.

Despite a possible blast of wintry weather, Carol Barton of UMW expects as many as 300 to 500 women will participate in the march, which has attracted a number of sponsoring organizations.

The observation of International Women’s Day isn’t confined to New York. UMW members attending a meeting in Nashville, Tenn., will model the idea that “activities are going to be taking place all over the world,” Barton said. Examples related to this march can be found on the website of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, another organizer of the New York event.

International Women’s Day, which celebrates women’s achievements and goals, has been observed since the early 1900s and in some countries has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day.

In New York, the march is part of UMW’s participation in the March 4-15 Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Additional co-organizers include the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, the International Trade Union Confederation and the Women and Global Migration Working Group.

As outlined in the call for participation put forth by the organizers, the march will focus on protection and support of human rights for women.

The call points to the obligation of U.N. member states “to prevent, protect against, and prosecute violence against women” and to be accountable regarding their own roles in perpetuating such violence, particularly in militarized cultures.

Starting at 10 a.m., marchers will assemble at First Avenue and 42nd Street, then depart at 10:30 a.m. and will proceed to Third Avenue and 47th Street and on to Dag Hammarskjold plaza near First Avenue and the United Nations.

Speakers at the plaza will include Nelly del Cid, a member of the UMW delegation to CSW-57 and director of Mercy Dreamweavers in Honduras; Madhu Mehra, a women’s rights lawyer from Delhi, India; Catherine Tactaquin, a founding member of the Women and Global Migration Working Group; and Wazhma Frogh, co-founder of Afghanistan’s first Research Institute focusing on Women Peace and Security.

Also, Daptnhe Cuevas, executive director of the Consortium for Parlamentary Dialogue and Equity A.C. in Mexico; Fadzai Mupautsa, Coalition of African Lesbians; and Diana Holland, UN-CSW trade union delegation. The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective of New York will perform.

The U.N.’s official observation of International Women’s Day, in a live webcast from 10 a.m. to noon at U.N. Headquarters, will focus on the theme “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”

Watch International Women’s Day 2013 message from Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women.

Linda Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at http://twitter.com/umcscribe. Contact her at (646) 369-3759 ornewsdesk@umcom.org.

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