Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SAVE Sisters Celebrate International Women's Day

Women without Borders / SAVE has gathered the voices of women from around the world to celebrate the occasion of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The below statements remind us of the strength and commitment of our sisters around the globe.

Edit Schlaffer, Executive Director of Women without Borders / SAVE
We are looking back on 100 years of global women’s commitment to making the world a better place for everyone - for women, men and children. It has certainly been an uphill struggle and our journey is not yet over. Women have shaped the most important movement of the 20th Century, changing the way we live together in families, in communities, and in the public arena. Women have proven that they carry a lot of moral authority- corruption is at its lowest levels when women are involved in decision making bodies, good governance is more often executed when women are walking the halls of power, and civil society led by women is challenging despotic regimes. This global female energy will contribute to positive change. Women without Borders is proud to be a part of these exciting developments.

Today we announce the new SAVE Witness Project, which puts a face to the tragic aftermath of terrorist attacks. The project will create a network of eyewitnesses who provide the young generation with alternative role models. These witnesses will share their stories to promote reconciliation rather than revenge. SAVE Global is creating new pathways for the young generation to gain access to testimonials of the consequences of terrorism, in order to expose them to the reality of the dangers of extremist ideologies. Women as mothers, educators, journalists, and activists will lead the way for this SAVE Global Counter-Extremism Education Campaign. Rather than implementing an educational campaign years after the occurrences, the SAVE Witness project seeks to act swiftly and comprehensively at the height of the threat of terrorist activities around the globe.

We wish you a happy International Women’s Day, and congratulate you for taking a stand, both in your own life and for the advancement of the women around you. Let us not forget: the personal is political!

Nadia Al-Saqqaf, SAVE Yemen member and editor of the Yemen Times
During my work as a journalist and activist I have come across so many stories of women in Yemen whose lives could have been much better had they known that they had alternatives. “I did not know who to turn to”, “I did not think that I had a choice”, “I was too weak to object”, “I was told that my opinion did not matter” are a few of many statements I hear over and over again. These women needed to feel that they are not alone in their ordeal and that they have the right to better treatment, support and a dignified life. Unfortunately during conflict, women and children are always the most vulnerable. They are the first to be sacrificed and the ones hit hardest by tragedies. But they are also the ones who put the pieces together and find strength to reconstruct families and societies in the aftermath of disaster. Tapping into women as a resource of strength for any society is a sure plan for progress and stability. Today, Yemen is going through political instability as the tide for change sweeps across the region. Surprisingly it is a number of women who, alongside men, are leading this change. Yet as always, politics is made by men and victories are negotiated by men. It is in such times that we need to pay close attention to the women of the society and involve them in the decisions that will shape the future of the country. We need to empower women and involve them in decision making so that they feel that they have an alternative and that their opinions matter.

May de Silva, SAVE Northern Ireland member and Director of Women into Politics
On the 100th anniversary of the launch of International Women’s day it is important that we recognize that millions of women worldwide are still being discriminated and disadvantaged though war and conflict. I hope that through our partnership working with Women without Borders-SAVE, we can work towards including women as agents of change just as our sisters achieved 100 years ago. In Northern Ireland we continue to support the women through education and awareness raising sessions so that the ethos survives for decades to come.

Archana Kapoor, SAVE India coordinator
Indian women are articulate, argumentative and empowered. Their voice is being heard and respected both at home as well as in the Indian Parliament. Increasingly, they are at the vanguard of civil society movements demanding justice for their sisters and others. Whether it is in Kashmir or the conflict ridden areas of northeast, it is they who suffer the most when blood is spilled on the streets or their sons are killed. It is important that the voices of our sisters in different parts of the country get louder and stronger, that they are heard. It is important that women believe in themselves and realize that they can make a difference in the way peace is negotiated. Women have to join forces and come out on the streets to fight atrocities, be it in Kashmir or Cairo! It is time to get into the driver’s seat. SAVE India is helping women do just this and more. It is helping women realize their potential to make a difference both at home and outside.

On this International Women's Day, I would like to congratulate all those women who showed the courage to raise their voices against the tyrant rulers in the Arab world. I do hope that soon SAVE’s efforts will be able to throw out those who promote extremist ideologies and spread fear through acts of terror.

Siham Abu Awwad, SAVE Palestine member
The woman that can deal with her pain can deal with anything. I believe as a woman, a mother and a sister that I have the power to change the situation through my humanity and my strength. I believe in my voice. My voice can reach everywhere, demanding a safe future for my kids and my nation through me as a woman. Just believe in yourself.

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Flash Points: Edit Schlaffer presents SAVE on CBS