Today in Darfur and throughout Sudan, millions of women and girls are at incredible risk because of the Sudanese government’s decision to expel the humanitarian agencies providing lifesaving assistance. As Secretary Clinton asserted in remarks commemorating the holiday yesterday, women have a crucial role to play in establishing and consolidating peace around the world, but in places like Sudan, they are often the most vulnerable population, and are hurt the most by conflict and abusive government policies.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was “women and men united to end violence against women and girls.” In his International Women’s Day address, United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon emphasized this imperative:
We must stop the habitual and socially ingrained violence that mars lives, destroys health, perpetuates poverty and prevents us from achieving women’s equality and empowerment.
While this holiday is an important way to emphasize the need for consistent attention to the rights of women around the world, every person should work to ensure that the essential and basic rights of women and girls are not forgotten or abused the other 364 days of the year as well. You can start by joining Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign to protect and empower women and girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A positive development over the weekend was President Obama’s nomination of Melanne Verveer, co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership, to a new foreign policy position: ambassador-at-large for international women’s issues. This position has the potential to collect and focus U.S. government efforts toward increasing equality for women globally.
Sasha Pippenger contributed to this post.