Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day

Men and women must unite for change

"When 14-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai was attacked by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school last October, it was a shot heard around the world. The teen has since recovered her strength and is now heralded as a leader in the movement to bring education to every girl. Her message: We won't accept violence. Friday is the 102nd International Women's Day and women – and men – across the world will join their voices in unison to echo the same sentiment: We must all commit to end violence, rape and abuse.

From female journalists being sexually assaulted in Egypt to politicians in the US and UK stating that only some allegations of rape are "legitimate", 2012 sometimes seemed like a setback for women's rights. The gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi and a 17-year-old girl in South Africa have sparked a ripple of anger that has spread around the world. These are not exceptional cases; they are the tip of the iceberg. In the UK, one in three girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school. In South Africa, one in three men admit to having raped. Globally one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in her lifetime. This isn't a marginal issue. We can't continue to ignore the fact that women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined.

In the wake of such atrocity, men and women have united to stand for equality and change. We know the support of men and boys is also an important part of the solution, that we're more powerful together. Across the globe, bells have chimed, people have converged in peaceful protest, communities have congregated online and men and women have danced in the street in the name of change. In 2012 the power of the internet and social media gave us an opportunity to unite. This year could provide the moment to act.

We stand collectively and say "we won't accept violence". We can say enough is enough to violence against women and girls. We can provide better support for the survivors of abuse. We can ensure young people are educated about healthy relationships and we can challenge sexism when we encounter it. Let's make our voices heard."

Annie Lennox activist and founder of the Equals coalition
Elton John founder, Elton John Aids Foundation
Anouskha Shankar musician and composer
Joe Wright director
Barbara Broccoli producer
Beverley Knight musician
Dion Dublin former England footballer
Caroline Lucas MP Green party
Charlie Webster presenter
Iwan Thomas Olympian
Emeli Sandé musician
Eve Ensler activist and author
Fay Ripley actor
Frisky and Mannish comedians
Gemma Cairney radio presenter
Ghostpoet musician
Guy Paul actor
Harriet Walter actor
Helena Kennedy barrister and broadcaster
Hollie McNish writer
Inja musician
Jo Brand comedian
Eddie Izzard comedian
Joan Bakewell author and broadcaster
Juliet Stevenson actor
Katy Piper activist
Jahmene Douglas musician
Katy B musician
Genneus music producer
Keira Knightley actor
Dominic Cooper actor
Maryam d'Abo actor
Hugh Hudson film director
Laura Bates campaigner
Josh Shahryar human hights reporter
Naomie Harris actor
David Oyelowo actor
Natasha Walter writer and campaigner
Phillippe Sands professor of international law
Ruth Negga actor
Sabrina Mahfouz poet and playwright
Dean Atta writer
Sam Taylor-Johnson director and artist
Aaron Taylor-Johnson actor
Mohsen Makhmalbaf director
Sarah Brown writer and campaigner
Stella Creasy MP Labour
Tessa Munt MP Liberal Democrats
VV Brown musician
Yvette Cooper MP Labour
Zainab Salbi writer and activist

Printed in The Guardian, Thursday 7 March 2013 20.59 GMT

For Twitter:

1 comment:


Well intended, good message, respect is due. Do the Taliban read the Guardian? Do they care what Annie Lennox says? I think not.