March is Women's History Month and to celebrate, we're taking a look at a few of the important history-making milestones women and girls have made over the past year across the world.
1. Largest Women's March in History
The Women’s March held on 21 January 2017 broke records. The protest originated in Washington and drew around half a million participants, with at least 408 marches planned in the U.S and 168 in 81 other countries. Worldwide participation advocated for legislation and policies regarding human rights, including women's rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion and workers' rights. Complementing the courage and passion apparent in these marches was a protest of a remarkable peaceful nature, ensuring that the message was naught tainted by violence or aggression.
2. African Women Leaders Network is Launched at the United Nations
UN Women, the African Union Commission, and the Permanent Mission of Germany launched the African Women Leaders Network, a ground-breaking initiative that seeks to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa with a focus on governance, peace and stability. The Network was launched following the three-day High-Level Women Leaders Forum for Africa’s Transformation, which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 31 May to 2 June 2017. Drawn from politics, public sector, business, civil society and the media, the participants are using the forum as a platform to launch the African Women Leaders Network to meet the aspirations of Africa Agenda 2063 and Goal 5.5 of the Sustainable Development Goal, that affirm the importance of women's equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
3. The #MeToo Movement Goes Global
In 2017 the #MeToo Movement took flight, raising awareness of sexual misconduct, predominantly in the work place. Although the movement was created in 2006, 2017 was the year in which it went viral with many high-profile figures and industry leaders raising awareness with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has sparked a worldwide conversation and productive debate on the topic of sexual misconduct, that has continued into 2018. Tarana Burke, the creator of #MetToo, originally purposed the movement to empower women through empathy, however through its evolution the movement has expanded to mean different things to different people. Burke has envisioned the movement to empower both men and women, of all color, ages and marginalization.
4. Chile Removes Ban on Abortion
Chile made a giant step forward in 2017 in the area of women’s reproductive rights. The constitutional court of Chile voted to approve a bill that would taper back on the country’s total ban on abortion. After many years of debate, a bill was passed that would allow abortion to take place under certain circumstances such as medical reasons or in cases of sexual assault. The results were welcomed by women’s rights groups throughout the country and is a major milestone in the nation’s progression.
5. Royal Decree Allowing Women to Drive in Saudia Arabia
Women in Saudi Arabia now have the freedom to drive. Rights groups in the kingdom have fought hard over the years to gain the liberty and freedom that comes with driving; the independence to get to where you want, when you want. The Gulf Kingdom is the sole county in the world that bans women from driving and this monumental moment paves the way for more positive progress in promoting women’s rights within the area.