World March of Women Kick-Off March 8

International Women's Day: Starting Point for Global Action Against Poverty and Violence

by Loretta A. Kane, Chief of Staff, Field and Communications

The U.S. action for the World March of Women 2000 will build on the momentum from the March of the Americas, organized by the Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU), also a major sponsor of the global action. Pictured at a rally against poverty are KWRU Director Cheri Honkala (far left) and NOW President Patricia Ireland (far right), among others. See the March of the Americas story.  Photo by Karen Johnson.

Organizing for the World March of Women 2000—a worldwide series of coordinated women's rights demonstrations—is well underway. Women from around the globe are organizing national events in over 138 countries. All of the events share a common demand: an end to poverty and violence against women, two problems that plague women no matter where they live.

"As we approach the new millennium, NOW is committed to taking action with women and men around the world.  Our common problems far outnumber our national differences.  The World March of Women 2000 will help us forge the coalitions we need—both nationally and internationally—to improve the lives of women and our families across the country and around the globe," said NOW Membership Vice President Karen Johnson.

NOW Membership Vice President Karen Johnson (top row, fourth from left) meets with members of the International Liaison Committee for the World March for Women.  Members of the committee represent countries from all over the globe, including Korea, Haiti and Palestine. Photo courtesy of Karen Johnson.

The National Organization for Women is taking the lead in organizing the U.S. march which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2000, in Washington, D.C.  NOW organizers have already held two coalition planning sessions and are continuing outreach efforts to solicit organizational sponsors to help build the action.

Worldwide events begin on International Women's Day (March 8, 2000) and will culminate on Oct. 17, the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, when women representing every participating country will meet at the U.N. in New York City to demand improved programs to eradicate poverty and violence against women.  The Quebec Federation of Women (Fédération des femmes du Québec, conceptualized the global events and is coordinating the U.N. event.

The U.S. march, which will bring thousands to Washington just weeks before the 2000 elections, will address political issues, such as improved funding of violence prevention and anti-poverty programs. While the U.S. march will focus on domestic policies, it will also have an international flavor as marchers from around the world take their message to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the way to the White House.

"The 2000 elections will be pivotal for feminist issues. We fought congressional efforts to end funding for the Violence against Women Act and cut programs to help poor women, but Congress succeeded in doing great damage to these programs. We must mobilize the votes of women's rights supporters across the nation and give some of these politicians their walking papers," NOW President Patricia Ireland said. "And because of our country's international role, we must also use the World March to encourage all policy-makers here—be they in the State Department or the IMF—to make a real commitment to ending poverty and violence throughout the world."

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