IWD2013: Women Uniting for Peace and Justice


IWD2013: Women Uniting for Peace and Justice


March 8 symbolizes the struggle of women all over the world for rights that they have been denied as human beings. In 1857 women textile workers in the United States went on strike demanding a wage increase and reduction of working hours from sixteen to ten hours daily. In 1908 again women workers in the textile mills in New York came out in a protest procession once more demanding a reduction in working hours from 16 to 10, for healthy working environments and universal adult franchise. The leading socialist leader Kiara Zetkin in a tribute to these struggling proposed that March 8 be observed in all socialist states as Women’s Day in 1910. The first ever International Women’s Day was observed spontaneously by working class women in 1911. Since then the day has become synonymous with struggles and protests. In India the National Federation of Women was the first to observe 8th March in the fifties.

The establishment hijacking of March 8 brings new challenges for those women organizations who continue to remain anti establishment. The lack of mass base of the kind of economic and social inputs that are flaunted by social organizations, eat at the very process of survival of these groups who also face a tremendous shortage of dedicated and committed women. Their survival therefore depends entirely on how relevant they make themselves to the really exploited and oppressed women. The middle class background of their members and a lack of leadership at the grassroots level give these groups an elitist image that can only be overcome by taking up issues that benefit the ordinary working class women.

This special day provides an opportunity to reflect and give thanks to God for the progress made towards gender equality, to assess the challenges facing women in the contemporary society, to consider future steps to enhance the status of women and, of course, to celebrate the gains made in these areas. Let us worship God in truth and in Spirit by following the liturgy on the theme “Women Uniting for Peace and Justice” Our progress towards Justice and Peace can be considered a continuing journey. Our destination is clear but our route remains a challenge. This year let the women of the Churches consider how far we have come and prepare for the sometimes difficult journey ahead. We can chart our course by measuring the impact of past achievements in our daily lives and by sharing our experiences with each other. Let us join in the journey towards Peace and Justice and help to map out enduring strategies for achieving it together. Download the IWD2013 Liturgy

Rachael Pradhan
Executive Secretary