LI Female Leadership Honours International Women’s Day 2012
International Women’s Day which we celebrate today marks the political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide. It is an important day because today we show the respect, appreciation and love we have towards women as we celebrate their economic, political and social achievements.
“Women and men are not valued as highly in our world. This has fatal consequences for women. Their possibility to live the life they want, and to realize their dreams, is being curtailed. In an ideal world we would not need a special day for women. But as long as the things are as they are, we need a day to remind us of the balance. It is time to go from beautiful speeches to real action and to ensure that injustices are fought and that legislation which makes it possible for women to have a better life is introduced. One important measure that would improve the lives of many women is to improve maternal health and to reduce maternal mortality, i e MDG 5. Through preventive prenatal care, better obstetrical care and broad initiatives in family planning tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths can be prevented each year”
-Abir Al-Sahlani, Vice President of Liberal International and Chair of LI Human Rights Committee.
“Although women have come a long way in gaining equal rights, there are still a number of issues that we must continue to address in public policy, such as dealing with problems of international trafficking of women, problems of domestic violence, continuing discrimination against women in the work place, as well as prejudiced roles for women in public involvement. There remains a lot of work to be done and we look forward to working with other colleagues and friends in the international community, especially around Asia, and indeed we have already formed networks among Asian political parties and women’s groups in Asia to further advance the progress of women in politics in our region. We certainly hope that there will be future opportunities to continue to share our experiences in solidarity with other women around the world to achieve more prominence and greater equality and justice for gender equality and for women in politics around the world”
-Bi-Khim Hsiao, Vice President of Liberal International and Member of Parliament, Taiwan.
“According to Oxfam, women undertake two-thirds of the work in the world yet earn just 10% of its income and own just 1% of the means of production. If women fare badly economically, they fare little better in political life: so that female leaders remain the exception not the rule, with LI Prize for Freedom Laureates Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Shirin Abadi two shining exceptions, albeit not in elected office. Like in two of the world’s largest emerging economies, India and China the phenomenon of ‘missing girls’ is an acute problem. Liberal International’s decision to make women’s rights a key plank of its human rights work is to be much applauded. International Women’s Day offers a chance to reflect on the many achievements made by women across the globe, whether they are widely acclaimed like Suu Kyi and Abadi or known only to those closest to them. “
-Dr Julie Smith, Chair, Liberal International British Group
“On a day like this there are many equality issues worth to highlight, issues we must work with on a daily basis. Women’s positions and power in the business sector is one. As a green liberal, I don´t see allocation of quotas as a solution, there are other, more modern ways to achieve equality. The competence is there, the studies showing that companies with at least 30% women in the board will lead to better economic growth, is also there. It is time the companies take their responsibility and stop saying no to economic growth by obtaining these old-fashioned structures. Sweden, nor any other country, can afford that. “
“International Women's Day is an anniversary that marks the position of women in the world. It is an international historic day with Danish roots, the idea of International Women's Day was made at an international women's congress in Copenhagen in 1910. Since 1977, the UN has recommended that the International Women's Day marked. It's good, because there is still much to fight for.”
-Margrethe Vestager, Leader of Det Radikale Venstre, Denmark
“As a human rights activist, former political prisoner and now acting chair of the DPP, I strongly support the empowerment of women’s participation in politics and civic society. Today women have achieved leadership roles in all walks of life in Taiwan. We have 38 out of 113 seats in Legislatures go to women, a figure higher than many of the democracies in the world. We understand that there is more to be done, we have indeed made tremendous progress in Taiwan. The DPP is also the first major political party to elect a woman leader who later became the first woman presidential candidate in Taiwan, and this brought a new level of momentum that encouraged more women to gain interests in politics and to play active and prominent roles in Taiwan’s political arena.”
-Chen Chu, Interim Chair of the Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan
“On this International Women’s Day, we honour the efforts and courage of women such as Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Helen Suzman and Albertina Sisulu, who all contributed greatly to a society where women are free to access the opportunities which were so long denied to them. For many of our country’s women, however, many of the most basic rights remain theoretical, as freedom from oppression is a reality for only a fortunate few. For the vast majority, challenges such as the scourge of sexual and family violence are their reality. Women still lack satisfactory access to the jobs and economic opportunity that flow from having equal access to skills development and training; women remain more at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS than men, and women in rural South Africa remain at a huge disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts. It is the daily struggle endured by so many of the world’s women which we must remember this International Women’s Day. Those of us who form part of the fortunate few beneficiaries of the struggle for equal rights must remember today that freedom is indivisible, and women’s rights are human rights.”
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Leader of the Opposition in South Africa, DA