Happy International Women’s Day! Though the United States is among a handful of countries that don’t officially recognize the nearly 100-year-old day for women, Americans still use the occasion to bring women’s issues to light. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle celebrated with a reception at the White House. The guests were a varied group, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and even actress Kerry Washington. Obama even gave kudos to current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for adding, as she said on the 2008 Presidential campaign trail, a million more cracks in the glass ceiling. Nonprofit organization Women for Women International drew millions of women at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and London’s Millennium Bridge in its “Join Me on the Bridge,” a symbolic event with Project Runway’s Tim Gunn to show the world that women are the bridge to resolving many of the world’s problems. And the International Museum of Women is celebrating with a new online global campaign called Women on the Map.
But the day also had its critics, namely in the voice of Somali nomad-turned-supermodel Waris Dirie who said the day was meaningless because there’s still inequality and injustice in the world against women, according to a Reuters report. And of course, she’s right. Poverty, illiteracy and violence are just a few of the issues that unequally afflict women around the world, especially in Asian countries. But there are glimmers of light. Women in Haiti are rolling up their sleeves to start anew in the wake of a devastating earthquake. Meanwhile, in Cambodia women like parliamentary member Mu Sochua are single-handedly bringing women’s rights into the national vernacular, earning one vote at a time to regain her seat in a male-dominated society. Here in the States, American women for the first time in history make up half of all the workers in the U.S. In nearly 4 in 10 families, mothers bring home as much as or even more of the bacon than their spouse, all on their own. And, the 82nd Academy Awards crowned its first female “best” director in the figure of Kathryn Bigelow, a fitting bookend as ex-wife to Avatar director James Cameron, who, when he won best director for Titanic, cried out: “I’m king of the world!”
Well, it looks like it’s the queen’s turn.