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National NOW Times >> Summer, 2000 >> Article

Join the World and March for Women

by Angela Arboleda, Senior Field Organizer

NOW members know what poverty and violence against women look like. Some also know what they feel like. It is not necessary to watch television or travel to a far-off country to see the images of impoverished people who experience these two misfortunes. Sometimes the only thing that's needed is to talk to a friend or walk down the block to see that poverty and violence against women transcend social, economic, racial and political lines.

The World March of Women 2000 is a global effort to eradicate poverty and violence against women. Women from around the globe are linking arms to demand that their local governments and international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) address these two issues in a more concrete and pro?active manner. Professional advocates and grassroots activists are issuing an unprecedented call for more programs that feed, house, educate and provide healthcare for people in need.

The United States is one of more than 155 countries participating in the World March of Women 2000. Women in places stretching from Sri Lanka to Bolivia, Estonia to France, and Denmark to South Africa are putting together national demonstrations and presenting similar demands, creating a united world front aimed at improving the living standards of millions of people.

On Sunday, Oct. 15, attention wil be directed to the U.S. World March of Women 2000, organized by NOW in Washington, D.C. Women from around the world will be looking to the women in the U.S. to strengthen and echo their demands.

"We are marching in Washington because we won't accept any cuts in the funding or enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act," said NOW's Action Vice President Loretta Kane. "We won't let the Republicans eliminate poverty by letting the poor die of starvation, exposure and untreated diseases. We are not willing to tolerate a system that punishes women for being single mothers-while that same system rewards deadbeat dads. We will not accept attacks on women's access to abortion and birth control. And we are not willing to let George W. Bush appoint the next justices to the Supreme Court."

U.S. foreign policy plays a critical role in determining the fate of many developing nations. Holding 26 percent of the total shares of the World Bank, the U.S. can use its leverage to reduce the number of people who die at the hands of poverty and violence. The United Nations must also play a key role in ensuring a fair distribution of our planet's wealth. On Oct. 17 an international delegation will convene at U.N. headquarters in New York City to present millions of signatures to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N., in a demonstration of global solidarity.

The March also comes at a pivotal time in U.S. politics-just three weeks before the November elections. The collective voices of inspired activists and voters in this final and critical period just might have an impact on the candidates and will have an impact on the results.

Anyone concerned with the growing divide between rich and poor, the violence that denies women their freedom and rights, and the global future of women and girls, is encouraged to come to Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, and New York City, Oct. 17, to be a part of an historic demand that people in the U.S. and the world live with dignity and equality.

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