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08. March 2011

SAVE Sisters Celebrate 100 Years of International Women's Day

Women without Borders / SAVE has gathered the voices of women from around the world to celebrate the occasion of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The statements remind us of the strength and commitment of our sisters around the globe

We are looking back on 100 years of global women’s commitment to making the world a better place for everyone - for women, men and children. It has certainly been an uphill struggle and our journey is not yet over. Women have shaped the most important movement of the 20th century, changing the way we live together in families, in communities, and in the public arena. Women have proven that they carry a lot of moral authority- corruption is at its lowest levels when women are involved in decision making bodies, good governance is more often executed when women are walking the halls of power, and civil society led by women is challenging despotic regimes. This global female energy will contribute to positive change. Women without Borders is proud to be a part of these exciting developments.

Today we announce the new SAVE Witness Project, which puts a face to the tragic aftermath of terrorist attacks. The project will be led by women and create a network of eyewitnesses who provide the young generation with alternative role models. These witnesses will share their stories to promote reconciliation rather than revenge. SAVE Global is creating new pathways for the young generation to gain access to testimonials of the consequences of terrorism, in order to expose them to the reality of the dangers of extremist ideologies. Women as mothers, educators, journalists, and activists will lead the way for this SAVE Global Counter-Extremism Education Campaign. Rather than implementing an educational campaign years after the occurrences, the SAVE Witness project seeks to act swiftly and comprehensively at the height of the threat of terrorist activities around the globe.

We wish you a happy International Women’s Day, and congratulate you for taking a stand, both in your own life and for the advancement of the women around you. Let us not forget: the personal is political!

Our SAVE Sisters celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day: Strong voices from the ground:

On the 100th anniversary of the launch of International Women’s day it is important that we recognize that millions of women worldwide are still being discriminated and disadvantaged though war and conflict. I hope that through our partnership working with Women without Borders-SAVE, we can work towards including women as agents of change just as our sisters achieved 100 years ago. In Northern Ireland we continue to support the women through education and awareness raising sessions so that the ethos survives for decades to come.
- May de Silva, Northern Ireland

Tomorrow 8 of March, women worldwide will celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women Day. Yemen is going to celebrate it too and join the global events that will take place on such occasion. However, this year and particularly this time, things are different here. Despite all the challenges that it faces, Yemen lives in a historical and critical moment.

The Yemeni people are on alert as the wind of change has swept from Tunisia, Egypt to Yemen. Like other Middle East countries, young people are the fuel of these new revolutions. Protests in Yemen (in Sana’a, Taiz, Aden and other Yemeni cities) become semi-daily and protesters camps occupied squares in those main cities. In such atmosphere, there is no much to say about 8 March and the desire to celebrate it becomes even less. Despite the advantages of International Women’s Day, it saddens me that in the celebrations, I just see those few educated and elite women; a thing that does not represent all the Yemeni women.

In Yemen the majorities of women are illiterate and live in rural areas where they are less connected with media and rare-informed. Those women won't celebrate the 8th of March, simply they have never heard about this day so it is meaningless to them. Actually many Yemeni women would be surprised to know that some countries observe the 8th of March as a national holiday. Finally, instead of holding conferences, workshops and similar events on International Women’s Day, I wish to celebrate it differently and do something concrete for women who are in need of support and who need to be empowered. For example, if we could just go to any village in Yemen and live one day with those hard-working women, honor them and show them some appreciation. I just wish on the day of 8th of March that we could connect the Yemeni women with their sisters around the globe - every Yemeni woman would wait for such a day impatiently. Will this day come?
- SAVE Yemen Member

To read the full statement from SAVE Yemen, please visit our blog

During my work as a journalist and activist I have come across so many stories of women in Yemen whose lives could have been much better had they known that they had alternatives. “I did not know who to turn to”, “I did not think that I had a choice”, “I was too weak to object”, “I was told that my opinion did not matter” are a few of many statements I hear over and over again. These women needed to feel that they are not alone in their ordeal and that they have the right to better treatment, support and a dignified life. Unfortunately during conflict, women and children are always the most vulnerable. They are the first to be sacrificed and the ones hit hardest by tragedies. But they are also the ones who put the pieces together and find strength to reconstruct families and societies in the aftermath of disaster. Tapping into women as a resource of strength for any society is a sure plan for progress and stability. Today, Yemen is going through political instability as the tide for change sweeps across the region. Surprisingly it is a number of women who, alongside men, are leading this change. Yet as always, politics is made by men and victories are negotiated by men. It is in such times that we need to pay close attention to the women of the society and involve them in the decisions that will shape the future of the country. We need to empower women and involve them in decision making so that they feel that they have an alternative and that their opinions matter.
- Nadia Al-Saqqaf, Yemen

Indian women are articulate, argumentative and empowered. Their voice is being heard and respected both at home as well as in the Indian Parliament. Increasingly, they are at the vanguard of civil society movements demanding justice for their sisters and others. Whether it is in Kashmir or the conflict ridden areas of northeast, it is they who suffer the most when blood is spilled on the streets or their sons are killed. It is important that the voices of our sisters in different parts of the country get louder and stronger, that they are heard. It is important that women believe in themselves and realize that they can make a difference in the way peace is negotiated. Women have to join forces and come out on the streets to fight atrocities, be it in Kashmir or Cairo! It is time to get into the driver’s seat. SAVE India is helping women do just this and more. It is helping women realize their potential to make a difference both at home and outside.

On this International Women's Day, I would like to congratulate all those women who showed the courage to raise their voices against the tyrant rulers in the Arab world. I do hope that soon SAVE’s efforts will be able to throw out those who promote extremist ideologies and spread fear through acts of terror.
- Archana Kapoor, India

The woman that can deal with her pain can deal with anything. I believe as a woman, a mother and a sister that I have the power to change the situation through my humanity and my strength. I believe in my voice. My voice can reach everywhere, demanding a safe future for my kids and my nation through me as a woman. Just believe in yourself.
- Siham Abu Awwad, Palestine

My name is Moira Jilani and I live in Jerusalem, Palestine. My beloved Husband and best friend, may he rest in peace, is the reason why I call this monotheistic city Home. Even though it is one of the most difficult places on the planet to live it is the most rewarding at the same time. The women of Palestine over the years have given me so much strength without even knowing it. These two quotes remind me of the strength of Palestinian women:
"A woman wears her tears like jewelry." -unknown Author
"The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it."
-Rosanne Barr
- Moira Jilani, Palestine

It is time for us to understand the need for mothers to be part of the solution and not to be used as pawns for those in power. It is time to understand the value of human life, and the consequence of violence. It is time to realize that no one is free until all are free, and that the energy we can bring as mothers and sisters and daughters can bring about this freedom. We must take our place at the table of negotiation and refuse to move away until reconciliation is achieved.
- Robi Damelin, Israel

Women are pillars of the Nation; if they are good, so is the Nation;
If they are bad, so is the Nation.
The above saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has inspired Indonesian women to engage in a movement to promote peace. Through the Mothers for Change! Campaign, Indonesian women nurture peace in society starting with the smallest social unit, our family. We believe that women and mothers are the first school for children, through whom peace values are implanted and nourished.

To commemorate the International Women’s Day 2011, it is timely that we rekindle the spirit of gender equality and justice as reflected in Indonesia’s constitution and in international conventions and declarations. This vision will not be achieved without support and participation of other segments of society, especially men. Power should be newly defined to mean sharing and empowering, and not dominating or oppressing. Cultural taboos and stereotypes inhibiting women from making progress in the public sphere should be removed. Roles and responsibilities should be equitably shared, to end the multiple burdens saddled on women. Only then can the Prophet Muhammad’s saying above be materialized, i.e. a good nation with the contribution of half of its population, the women. Happy Women’s Day 2011.
- Lily Zakiyah, Indonesia

To read the full statement from SAVE Indonesia, please visit our blog


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