National Organization for Women (NOW)

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

International Women's Day March 8: Difficult Global Times Call for Improving Status of Women

Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy

WASHINGTON - As we mark International Women's Day on March 8, an increasing
number of women around the world find themselves and their families in
dire economic circumstances. While we as a nation focus on the economic
realities here in the U.S., we must not let global starvation,
violence, trafficking, and the lack of health care, clean water, and
basic necessities fall lower on our priority list.

Nearly one billion people live on $1 or less a day, and women
constitute about two-thirds of that number. Women in poor countries
face daily struggles and life-threatening challenges. Hunger and
disease continue to cause death and suffering for millions. Even in
developed nations, women in low-income families struggle to provide
food and shelter.

The world community of women must not allow difficult economic times
to distract our global leaders from ending the wars, feeding the
people, and stopping the systemic sexual violence and horrific crimes
committed against women and girls in every country -- whether in a
democracy or under another form of rule. Amnesty International reports
at least one out of every three women worldwide are beaten, coerced
into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetime, with rates reaching 70
percent in some countries. In war-torn countries, women and girls are
being treated as weapons in the conflict -- and torture, rape, and
sexual violence are destroying entire communities.

Inspiring new optimism is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who
has the influence to improve women's lives globally. In her
confirmation hearing, Clinton made clear that she intends to advocate
for women and girls in every corner of the world:

Of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls,
who compromise the majority of the world's unhealthy, unschooled, unfed
and unpaid. If half of the world's population remains vulnerable to
economic, political, legal, and social marginalization, our hope of
advancing democracy and prosperity will remain in serious jeopardy.

Investments that improve women's lives through education, training,
health care, nutrition, access to capital and reduction of conflict
should be at the top of every nation's priorities, including ours.
Making sure that women are doing well also means that their children
will do well and future generations will continue to reap the benefits.
This International Women's Day offers an opportunity for the United
States and other nations to commit themselves to these all-important
goals.

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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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