International Women’s Day 2008 and Women by Nurit Peled-Elhanan 2005

March 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Children, International Women's Day, Motherhood, Women | 2 Comments

Thanks to earthpal, I learned today, Saturday 8 March 2008, is International Women’s Day. Since the first IWD in 1911, the day’s focus has evolved to address the main concerns of women as times have changed. Nowadays, the tone has progressed “to a celebration of the positives”.

The UN is calling for greater investment in women. The OECD has recommendations to help families looking for a work-life balance, in a series of reports titled Babies and Bosses.  Without a doubt, my family reap the benefits from the investment by government and employers in my own education and training, and the support my brilliant boss gave me when I had three kids.  I do recall with a sense of amusement, though, that many years earlier, I had had to go against the wishes of my headmistress who advised me not to study engineering, as it is “a dirty subject—quite unsuitable for a young lady”.  Even at employment interviews years ago, I was put on the spot to justify why any company should send me for four months expensive technical training overseas, when I was at “the perfect age for childbearing and could easily get pregnant and waste the entire corporate investment”.  It’s all a matter of trust.

As a mother who is constantly celebrating the positives as far as my own opportunities and experiences are concerned, I would like to share a speech that reflects my view of this day’s main raison d’être: there are still millions of women and children facing harsh and desperate situations, and these negatives should not be swept under the carpet.Three years ago, Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan gave this address to the European Parliament at Strasbourg:


Her words are worth revisiting now, whatever your situation.P.S. I thought about extending my comment on your blog, earthpal, but decided it is better added here, then I can take the flak for my own observations myself:

Personally, I think that men and women are equally suited to being peace-makers and bridge-builders. Relationships depend, to a large degree, on what is culturally acceptable. In the UK, I am often shocked at how openly disparaging and deeply distrusting many women are in their dealings with men when they are in the same meeting, as well as how they treat other women when they have left the room! In other words, I think many British men have a lot to put up with these days.



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  1. P.S. Here are some horrific statistics on the poor state of many womens’ lives today.

  2. Inel, thanks for posting that hearbreaking speech by Dr Nurit Peled-Elhanan. Her words are tragically true and they leave me feeling guilty and helpless.

    Regarding your last paragraph there – yes, it’s a fair comment. In a social context I think Western women, generally speaking, are no longer willing to fill that housewifey role. And I think there’s been some overcompensating going on, so much so that some women are not happy to achieve that elusive equal status – they want to dominate. That said, there is still much to fight for.

    And as we know, the abuse and exploitation of women occurs in all cultures.

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