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Cofrestrwch ar gyfer y canlynol: Cylchlythyr | Newyddion

Celebrating International Women’s Day

The achievements of women around the world will be celebrated today as events are held to mark International Women’s Day.
Dydd Gwener 09 Mawrth 2012
08 March 2012 Western Mail

This Day celebrates the role and contribution of women in the world, acknowledging their struggles and achievements. It is also an opportunity for women and men to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change.

The first International Women’s Day was held in March 1911 when Women and men came together to talk about the need for women to have basic rights afforded to them – the right to vote, the right to work, the right to speak out in public and the right to earn an equal wage.

Of course we take some of these rights for granted and enormous progress has been made for women in Wales but barriers still persist to achieve a level playing field in many spheres of women’s economic and social circumstances.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2012 in Wales is Women and Men united to end domestic abuse and violence against women. We chose this theme to reaffirm our commitment to tackling this issue which can be clearly seen in our Programme for Government.

The Programme for Government has also made clear our intention to introduce a Domestic Abuse (Wales) Bill in 2013. The Bill will be designed to place a duty on ‘relevant’ public sector bodies to have a strategy to tackle domestic abuse and violence against women. 

To highlight International Women’s Day the Welsh Government has given over £30,000 to 16 diverse organisations across Wales including Arts Alive, an arts project for women with learning disabilities in Abergavenny and NIACE Dysgu Cymru, working to empower women through learning.

However, it is not just on International Women’s Day but all year round, that many of these organisations and individuals work tirelessly to highlight the many issues facing women in Wales and to support gender equality.

20 years ago I was appointed the first Director of Chwarae Teg, an organisation established to champion the economic development of women in Wales. It was a real honour to hold this position and I am very proud of what Chwarae Teg has achieved over the last 20 years.

There are many other themes across the world for International Women’s Day 2012 including the UN Women’s theme Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty as well as the theme of Connecting Girls and Inspiring Futures. We must remember that there are still many women all across the world who are not legally allowed to own land or who are not permitted to work in certain jobs.

 

I have met with some very inspirational girls and young women over the last year including Jessica Jones, a student at St David’s Catholic College who was named Welsh Young Engineer of the Year. All too often people see science, technology and engineering as a male dominated career but Jessica is really bucking this trend. She has a clear enthusiasm for the subject and her ability in the field has already been widely recognised.

I also met thirty year nine female students at the ‘Saturday Discover!’ Club at Cardiff University - a made in Wales initiative with no equivalent anywhere else in the UK. It is a fantastic way of inspiring and encouraging young women into engineering and science.

International Women’s day gives us an opportunity to challenge stereotypes and accepted norms and to encourage girls to aspire to the careers that they are genuinely interested in and in which they have an important contribution to make.

Over the last few months we have been engaging with organisations and individuals across Wales to ensure that we are aware of the issues facing women in Wales. These views are now being used to develop our equality objectives and Strategic Equality Plan which I will be launching next month. They will ensure that the way we govern has the greatest possible impact on making society fairer.

In recent times, we have seen significant improvements in terms of women's equality. Women are able to enter university and can choose to have a family and work. However, on too many issues, unacceptable inequalities remain: violence against women and girls, under-representation of women in positions of power, and the unequal division of care to name a few.

The impacts of reducing budgets and welfare reform are already impacting disproportionately on single parents and carers, the majority of whom are women and I am determined to do everything we can as a Welsh Government to mitigate against these cuts, choosing the priorities which have been tested to sustain and progress equality of opportunity for women in Wales.

This Welsh Government is committed to ensuring equality for all citizens in Wales where all are respected and included as equal members of society, and where everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

I want to encourage everyone to support International Women’s Day and to recognise that although celebrated on 8 March, this represents so much more than just one day.

 

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