Of all the rallies and marches in honor of International Women's Day, the most inspiring have to be those drawing the thousands of women who had to fight hardest to get there. Many are the women of poor Muslim countries who daily face rape, beatings, forced marriages, honor killings, domestic violence – never mind the garden-variety discrimination of developed countries – with little recourse to legal or political help.
The 10,000 women marching in Kinshasa to protest violence against women and
children in the Congo's war, the women in Bangalore in southern India protesting violent attacks by religious extremists in the name of "moral policing," the women in Islamabad chanting for equal rights in Pakistan – this is courage. We hope the Obama administration hears the voices of activists urging the U.S. to adopt U.N.-sponsored global initiatives aimed at protecting women – from our lush perch, the least we can do.
A human rights activist holds a placard during an International Women's Day rally in Karachi