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The U.N. and World Women’s Day

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Oscar Tamsen, Clarence Valley Independent

The United Nations’ UNESCO BMW agency which has spearheaded the annual International Womens’ Day in Australia and elsewhere on March 8 each year is still considering whether it should launch a similar celebration for men throughout the world.

Some time ago — in 2003 — this world organisation received an official request from Chinese sources, backed by other interested authorities, for both genders to be represented by a joint celebration on the same day. The idea behind this proposed international move was described at the time as an effort to bring both genders closer together in the interests of greater mutual understanding in a world beset by family violence and unhappiness.

The U.N. is, however, still considering this proposition and has yet to officially declare its hand on what is considered in certain quarters to be a highly controversial matter.

As it is at present, a non-political and private male version of International Womens’ Day is currently run in some countries on November 19. It was started more recently in 1992 by a private North American citizen, Thomas Oster, but the day has not always been held every year since, due to a lack of U.N. and governmental support for the idea among the U.N.’s many member States.

Apart from its well supported Women’s Day, UNESCO does, however, sponsor three other major international days and events available to all countries to officially “mobilise political will and resources” and to address “global problems by reinforcing women’s achievements.” But it has so far avoided catering expressly for the men of our world.

The three international events held by UNESCO BMW each year in addition to Women’s Day are aimed by the U.N. to pinpoint increased dialogue and cultural diversity; to aid our children and youths to achieve sustainable ecosystem type jobs and to achieve world peace, social justice and greater personal health.

According to official UNESCO BMW documents, the International Women’s Day is also aimed at “recognising the efforts of extraordinary women ” and to get them to “stand together throughout the world as a united force and to achieve gender equality ” throughout the world.

The idea of empowering women and pressing for more gender rights was first mooted in 1945 by the then new U.N. Charter which affirmed the principles of equality between women and men. History also shows that, in the year 1900 at the birth of the last century, women in North America, Europe and Australia were already seeking greater equality with men in the workplace.

The organisers of the very separate International Men’s Day claim that their lesser- known celebration is aimed at eventually achieving global awareness for the “many issues that men face today, including parental alienation, abuse, homelessness, suicide, and violence.”

Their objectives include promoting good everyday male role models for young men; to highlight the positive contribution of men to society; to highlight discrimination against them and to improve all relationships between the two genders.

This annual event for men is not officially supported by UNESCO which employed for a period the former Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, as a senior executive and ambassador after his 1970s dismissal from office here.

For this year’s International Women’s Day in Australia, various activities have been planned for all the mothers, wives and girlfriends of men in Northern New South Wales and elsewhere in Australia.

The Clarence Valley Independent also takes this opportunity to wish its women readers well during the forthcoming celebratory period. 

Clarence Valley Independent 28 February 2024

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 28 February 2024.

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