Today, the world marks International Women's Day. Cities and nations all over the world take the day to celebrate the achievements of women and call attention to the challenges that they still face.
Some of these challenges are especially critical. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent features of the ongoing conflict in the east. In Darfur, Sudan, the violation of rape is further compounded by the virtual lack of aid and support for survivors. In October 2009, researcher Bec Hamilton wrote about the disappearance of services for women in the wake of the Sudanese government's decision to expel and then slowly reinstate international aid organizations in Darfur. She wrote:
And, in [aid agencies'] absences, no one has been willing or able to rebuild Darfur's delicate patchwork of medical, psycho-social, and legal services for survivors of... gender based violence. "Since the expulsions, our main concern is for the women," one Darfuri leader in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons, or IDPs, told me, as we took cover from the harsh desert sun under tattered plastic sheeting.
International Women's Day offers a dedicated opportunity to refocus on critical, often overlooked issues facing women today. Please follow the links below to access additional resources and learn more.
One Night, One Voice: Spotlighting Rape as a War Crime: A U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum event
Gender-based Violence and Genocide: A podcast with Kelly Askin
Survivors, Not Victims: A podcast with Professor Lee Ann de Reus
The Forgotten Needs of Darfur's Women: A podcast with Bec Hamilton
Women Changing Rwanda's Future: A podcast with Elizabeth Powley
A history of International Women's Day from the United Nations
Information and resources on gender equality and empowerment of women from the United Nations