Women with Disabilities
EBU Press Release - 8 March 2010, International Women's Day
Paris, 5 March 2010
On the 8th of March we celebrate the International Women's Day (IWD). The year has 365 days and there is only 1 day that focuses more attention than usual on women and their issues.
At the Second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910 the decision to celebrate the International Women's Day was put forward. The first official celebration took place on 19th March 1911, but only in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. After some years, the celebrations were transferred to the 8th of March and we are approaching a centenary of the International Women's Day.
Much has changed for the better since then. Women have fought for and achieved many of their rights, among them the right to vote. However, it seems that during the years of economic and social developments these rights have lost their shining glory and it is as if they have become a bit forgotten. And that is why we women, more or less passionately, still need to fight for the recognition of our rights, not only on paper but in real life.
When some years ago we thought the situation for blind and partially sighted women was improving, the recession and the economic crisis came along. And so more and more often we hear about or feel that the situation of blind and partially sighted women in Europe is not good. In some countries the situation is worsening and some rights are being abolished. This is worrying and alarming information.
The motto of this year’s International Women’s Day, which was proposed and chosen by the United Nations, is
EQUAL RIGHTS, EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES: PROGRESS FOR ALL.
These words sound very optimistic. The rights stated in various laws declare equal rights for women and men, disabled and non-disabled, for people of all ethnic origins and all religions, for rich and for poor. However, my every right is limited by the rights of others, but I firmly realize, I can exercise this right only when I also fulfil my obligations.
If I look at equal possibilities and opportunities, things are different. Women do not have the same opportunities as men and blind and partially sighted women undoubtedly have fewer opportunities than sighted women.
Of course our efforts are targeted to overcome these inequalities in different ways. Men and women are different and we should use our differences and diversity in our common efforts for the good and progress of all. A supportive social climate can undoubtedly contribute to progress and it can be achieved by mutual respect, appreciation and support by listening, hearing and trusting one another. In our local or state organizations there is still too much division between women’s and men’s work, between women’s or men’s principles or stereotypes on what is proper for men and improper for women... Let’s finally come together and give each other support, I am sure the progress will not fail.
The first step toward our goals is the EBU Women's Conference titled 'HOW TO MAKE THE UN CONVENTION WORK FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED WOMEN', which is being prepared under the sponsorship of the Pancyprian Organisation of the Blind. The conference will be held from 26th till 28th March in Larnaca, Cyprus. I am very glad that the conference is held in the festive month of March and we can prolong our celebrations of the International Women’s Day in a more working manner. I kindly invite you to join us in great numbers. I would like to thank Mr. Christakis Nicolaides, the president of POB, for his hospitality and cooperation.
Let every day of the year be the 8th March, and not just a celebration for one day of the year.
Email from: Barbara Krejči Piry, Coordinator of the EBU Women Steering Group