One in three women will suffer violence or physical abuse during her lifetime (Unite to end Violence against Women).
Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria (World Bank data).
Yesterday afternoon our back garden was filled with women in matching purple outfits (purple comes from the colours of the suffragettes and symbolizes justice) playing games and singing songs, celebrating being women. Men kept at a respectful distance as over 30 Congolese women laughed, shouted and danced away the daylight hours.
International Women’s Day is a day for women to come together and celebrate who they are, to stand in solidarity with their sisters across the globe and to lift their collective voice to campaign for greater equality.
But why do we need an ‘international day’? Surely the feminist movement has done enough to promote the role of women and ensure they are seen as equals?
Sadly not. Women across the world suffer at the hands of men and struggle to be seen as equal . Women are shunned, ignored, abused and treated as secondary human beings in countries and cultures around the world.
This is not just a problem for developing countries. Closer to home The Independent cited research that found there are fewer independent US companies run by women than by men named John.
As I work alongside these amazing Congolese women I feel somewhat ambivalent about this international day. There is so much to celebrate, but also still so much that needs to happen before real equality is achieved.