International Women’s Day was celebrated in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State, yesterday with this year’s theme of “Planet 50.50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality.”
In attendance at the event were Dr. Toe Toe Aung, the Minister of Municipal Development in Mon State, officials from various governmental departments, and local residents. Discussions around pledging non-discrimination and addressing women-specific issues began in the morning at the domestic vocational training center hall in Moulmein.
“ We are holding this International Women’s Day to recognize the women’s sector, to provide capacity building for women, to acknowledge women’s successes, and to solve the problems that women are facing, together,” said Dr. Toe Toe Aung.
Dr. Nay Chi Linn, Project Manager at Marie Stopes International (MSI) Myanmar, also delivered an International Women’s Day message from UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
“As a boy growing up in post-war Korea, I remember asking about a tradition. I observed: women going into labor would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again, my mother explained.”
The General Secretary’s message continued, “In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished.”
International Women’s Day was first commemorated in 1908 to honor a garment workers’ strike in New York City. Women in urban areas of the U.S. at that time were protesting against poor working conditions and building support for universal women’s suffrage. This year marked the 105th anniversary of the event with celebrations held in countries around the world.