Friday, 8 March 2013
Welcome to International Women's Day 2013
We celebrate the Day and reflect on future challenges
March 8th 2013 is here - and we are delighted to be celebrating - and to have celebrated - International Women's Day across this very special week. We wish you all a very happy and special International Women's Day and wish you well for the challenges we face in support of the cause of women across the coming year. We celebrate the progress of the women's cause over the past few decades and we look towards the key actions and associated targets we face in order to improve the cause, rights and quality of life of the women we serve in our centres and women worldwide.
We would like to celebrate the work of our Platform 51 centres in supporting the very real needs of girls and women in all the areas of the UK we serve. In particular, we serve communities in Knowsley, Doncaster, Wolverhampton, West Kent, London East, Bristol and Cardiff, as well as serving via outreach services in many other areas. From multi-cultural celebrations in our West Kent centre to breakfasts, drop-in lunches and teas - plus cake-making and face-painting for our women and girls - from Wolverhampton to Knowsley, Doncaster and Bristol, our Centres have been celebrating. Others, for example, London West and Bristol will also join forces with other women's groups to celebrate International Women's Day in a spirit of unified support for the cause of womanhood across the globe. In Thanet, our West Kent centre will join forces with Rethink for a dedicated Round Table looking at mental health issues. See our Facebook and Twitter pages for photos of some of these events!
We are in campaigning spirit. This year we have encouraged our staff and women and girls to mark their International Women's Day celebrations in part by donning our Platform 51 signature 'warpaint' [pink/purple facepaint in reality!] and taking photos to reinforce our sense of community and unity. Also to mark the unity of women fighting for the cause of women across the world.
From a policy aspect, our Director of Policy, Campaigns and Communications, Rebecca Gill has joined forces with the British Institute of Human Rights and other womens' organisations - from Fawcett Society to Women's Aid - in a published letter to the Guardian today. The Letter calls on the UK government to ensure international human rights promises are translated into progress on women's rights here at home in the United Kingdom. An excerpt from the Letter in the form of a quote from Sanchita Hosali, Deputy Director, British Institute of Human Rights reads :
"International Women's Day reminds us that the inequality and discrimination women and girls experience will only be overcome when their fundamental human rights are fully respected, protected and fulfilled. The UK has made much progress on women's rights, yet as recent reports show, the risk of regression looms. Much needs to be done to translate the Government's international human rights promises into real and meaningful change for women, anything less than this would be a backward step in the journey to secrure women's rights and gender equality."
We concretely agree with the statement outlined above from the British Institute of Human Rights. We also agree with , and embrace, the philosophy expressed by our parent organisation, World YWCA, in its report, 'The Future Young Women Want : A Global Call to Act'. The Report, just released by World YWCA in New York, where a World YWCA delegation is attending the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. In particular, this phrase has resonance for us at Platform 51.
"Experience has shown us that alone, the individual voices of young women are often forgotten or ignored, but together their collective voice is deafening"
Finally, we would like to reflect on these, necessarily anonymous, quotes from recent Platform 51 case studies. They make us realise how much our services and support counts and fills us with energy and enthusiasm to carry on our work across our Centres during the coming year of International Women's Day 2013-2014.
"Platform 51 made me think about the future. And realise that I had one".
"It was a struggle to get me through the door at first - but Platform 51 has changed my life dramatically".
"I'm so much stronger now. If it wasn't for Platform 51, I would be dead in the gutter".
Wishing you all a very happy International Women's Day. We also applaud the UK Government's commitment to engaging with international human rights mechanisms, but we urge them to remember that the point of human rights, including women's human rights, is that they must be made real here at home.
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