This is the VOA Special
English Development Report.
International Women's Day
is celebrated each year on March eighth. Groups around the world use this day
to honor the progress of women. They also use the day to call attention to the
social, political and economic problems
facing women and girls.
Among the issues
are forced marriage, sexual
poverty and a
lack of education.
The United Nations says
one in five women
worldwide will be the victim of a sexual
assault in her
lifetime. It says rape and domestic violence are major causes
of disability and
death among women age fifteen to forty-four. More than one hundred thirty
million females in Africa and other areas of the world have had their sexual
organs cut for cultural reasons.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
says the world's goals for peace, security, and
sustainable development are
risk until women and girls are freed from
poverty and injustice. More than one
billion people in the world live in extreme poverty. And the United Nations says
the majority are female.
National Woman's Day was
first celebrated in the United States on February twenty eighth, nineteen
hundred and nine. The next year a women's rights leader from Germany suggested
the idea of an international celebration. Clara Zetkin said women around the
world should set aside one day every year to protest
She suggested the idea at an International Conference of Working Women in
More than one million
people attended events in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland during the
first International Women's Day. It took place in nineteen eleven.
In nineteen fourteen the
date for the observance was changed to March eighth in honor of an historic
protest for women's rights. Fifteen thousand women marched in New York City on
March eighth nineteen hundred and eight. They marched
to demand better pay,
shorter work hours and the right to vote.
And that's the VOA
Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm