Today is International Women's Day, an annual event that presents a welcome opportunity to talk about the achievements made by women in our society - as well as the many challenges they still face.
EQUALS, a U.K. coalition of advocacy groups organized in part by singer Annie Lennox, has been running a campaign to draw attention to how many of those challenges still remain, as well as the lack of common understanding that often seems to persist between women and men. They have a series of "Debate Starter" films, intended to provoke viewers into questioning various aspects of the gender divide in our societies.
Last year, the group celebrated International Women's Day with a much-watched clip featuring James Bond actors Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, but they recently released a batch of new ones:
Why Can't Girls Be Beatboxers?
Women In Afghanistan
Female Genital Mutilation In The U.K.
The Prejudice Against Young Mothers
Why Do Women Need Five Different Bottles Of Shampoo?
In Canada, the federal government, through Status of Women Canada, has declared that the theme for Canada's commemorations of International Women's Day is "Strong Women, Strong Canada - Women in Rural, Remote and Northern Communities: Key to Canada's Economic Prosperity." The Prime Minister released a statement today touting "the important role women and girls living in these areas play in our country's economy."
But some commentators point out that there is still much work to be done, both here in Canada and around the world. In the Toronto Star, columnist Heather Mallick cheers the fact that Canada has made much progress improving the status of women here, but also warns that "women's rights are under attack every day."
There are a number of events planned across the country today, and the official International Women's Day website offers a guide to activities in Canada and around the world.
Tonight on the show, George has three strong, accomplished and inspiring women as his guests: actress Olivia Wilde, filmmaker Lea Pool and physicist, philosopher and activist Vandana Shiva.
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