Phoenix Arizona


International Women’s Day – Thursday, March 6 by azhttp
February 8, 2008, 8:24 pm
Filed under: City of Phoenix, Events, Free | Tags: , , , ,

The purpose of the annual Phoenix celebration of International Women’s Day is to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and to raise money for scholarships for women to continue their education. For the past 16 years, the city of Phoenix, the International Women’s Day Steering Committee and Phoenix Women’s Commission have hosted a luncheon to recognize the resilient spirit of women around the world and raise funds to provide educational scholarships to re-entry women interested in furthering their education.

Since the first Phoenix International Women’s Day event in 1991, the message advocating human rights for women worldwide has reached tens of thousands of attendees. Our speakers have made us more aware of the global community of women and more appreciative of the freedoms we enjoy in our own country. We have been both moved and uplifted by the presentations of internationally recognized business leaders, educators, civil rights leaders, politicians, media representatives, authors and poets.

Gloria Steinem was the first keynote speaker. Other speakers have included Betty Mahmoody, author of the book “Not Without My Daughter;” Bella Abzug, former U.S. Congresswoman from New York (deceased); Patrica Russell-McCloud, J.D., professional orator; Mahnaz Afkami, president of the Sisterhood is Global Institute; Marjorie Agosin, human rights activist and poet; Deborah Norville, veteran journalist and anchor of the newsmagazine show, Inside Edition; Pegine Echevarria, internationally known author and motivational speaker; Lisa Ling, seasoned reporter and co-host of ABC Daytime The View; Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of Essence magazine; Laura Liswood, secretary general, Council of Women World Leaders; Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D., president and CEO, Last Word Productions, Inc.; Chin-Ning Chu, president, Strategic Learning Institute and author; and Indra Nooyi, president and CEO of PepsiCo.

The annual celebration worldwide of International Women’s Day on March 8 commemorates the continuing struggle of women to improve their lives and status. The roots of this special day go back to March 8, 1857, when hundreds of women workers in the garment and textile industry in New York City engaged in a bold and desperate action to improve their lives. They demonstrated against the brutal 12-hour work day/six days-a-week work schedule, pathetically low wages and increasing arduous workloads. They called for equal pay for women and improved working conditions. Their call for social and economic justice was ignored; their protest was harshly dispersed by the police.

These women, however, did not give up. Three years later, they formed their own labor union, again demanding improved working conditions. More than 50 years later in 1908, women from the needles trade industry demonstrated for the same issues adding to their demands the right for women to vote and laws against child labor. In 1920, German labor leader Clara Zetkin suggested that March 8 be proclaimed International Women’s Day in memory of early struggles by women to improve their lives.

The work is not yet done. Working together we can all realize the goals, dreams and aspirations of women that are deeply rooted in our history.

The 2008 Phoenix celebration will be held on Thursday, March 6, at the Phoenix Convention Center. For sponsorship opportunities, contact the city of Phoenix Equal Opportunity Department at 602-261-8242/voice or 602-534-1557/TTY.

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