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International Women's Day at the United Nations

SpaceThe UN celebration of International Women's Day on March 8 celebrated the role of women in promoting world peace and social progress. Far from just benefiting women, equals rights and opportunities benefit the entire society. So, for example, every one-percentile growth in female secondary schooling results in a 0.3 percent growth in a country's economy.
Space Unfortunately, in the poorest countries that would benefit most, girls are often kept from schooling.
Space This year's UN observance of International Women's Day focused on women and HIV/AIDS. "In most countries and communities," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "it was women who had been most active and effective advocates and activists in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Supporting these women, and encouraging others to follow their example must be our strategy for the future. It is our job to furnish them with strength, resources and hope."
In his remarks, the Secretary-General pointed out that HIV/Aids, one of today's most critical issues, was usually thought to strike mostly men. Today a terrifying pattern has emerged. All over the world women are increasingly bearing the brunt of the epidemic.

United Nations logo United Nations logo

Chagall stained glass

Chagall stained glass at U. N.

Mary Ann Strain, C.P.

Sr Mary Ann, C.P. at U. N.

SpaceDot At least half of those newly infected are women.
SpaceDot Among people younger than 24, girls and young women
Spacenow make up nearly two-thirds of those living with HIV.
SpaceDot If these rates of infection continue women will soon become
Spacethe majority of people infected globally.
SpaceDot Since women usually help society's families cope in times
Spaceof drought and famine, HIV infection among them will cause
Spacemore family break-ups, displacement and migration.

Why Are Women More Vulnerable to HIV/AIDS Infection?
One of the apparent cruelties of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is that women are twice as likely biologically to contract the disease than men. Additionally, society's inequalities -- poverty, abuse and violence, lack of information, coercion by older men, and men having several partners, contribute to their risk.

What Can Be Done?
Space Relations between women and men at all levels of society must be transformed and women and girls empowered. Some changes include:

SpaceDot Reducing violence against women.
SpaceDot Protecting the property and inheritance rights of women and girls.
SpaceDot Ensuring women's and girls' equal access to care and treatment;
SpaceDot Promoting access to prevention options for women.
SpaceDot Supporting ongoing efforts towards universal education for girls.
For more information, contact:
SpaceSr Mary Ann Strain, C.P.
SpacePassionist International
Space777 UN Plaza, #6H
SpaceNew York, NY 10017 USA
Spaceor email:

SpaceNot a link, you goddam spammers

Sign of the Passion
index to all Compassion articles online - email questions or comments
Copyright 2004 - all rights reserved - Passionist Missionaries of Union City, NJ, USA

Publisher: Terence Kristofak, C.P., Provincial Eastern Province
Editor: Victor Hoagland, C.P. • Coeditors: Mary Ann Strain, C.P. and Kevin Dance, C.P.
Art Director: Sr. Mary Clement • CSAC Circulation: James Fitzgerald