San Diego Women Mark International Women’s Day 2012

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photo courtesy of WeNews via flickrWhile many individuals feel that the women’s rights movement took place more than 30 years ago, the truth is that the battle is still raging on. Across the United States, including in San Diego, women are standing up everyday for equal opportunities in the workplace, social settings, and even at home.

This Thursday, March 8, which marks the 101st International Women’s Day, hundreds of San Diego women plan to rally in front of the US Federal Courthouse to continue their crusade for the protection of their rights. Women from throughout San Diego will be converging at the Federal courthouse downtown from noon to 1 p.m. to address several family planning issues, including their beliefs in a woman’s right to contraception.

International Women’s Day officially began in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germanyon March 19, 1911, and was created by women as a day to celebrate their accomplishments, as well as press for their demands. This year’s IWD event in San Diego is co-sponsored by Women Occupy San Diego and Planned Parenthood. Jennifer Coburn, Director of Communications and Marketing for Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties, will address the crowd during the rally. The event will also feature performances by comedian Diane Jean, and the Women Occupy San Diego Occupella Chorus.

This year’s International Women’s Day comes at a time of particular political unrest for women throughout the United States, as the looming presidential election brings to light topics such as abortion, birth control, and other health care issues. Recent viral episodes, including Rush Limbaugh’s crude remarks to a Georgetown University Law Student, have mobilized many women across the country to speak out about changes to health care options. Perhaps the most infamous recent event took place in late January 2012 when the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation temporarily revoked grants directed toward Planned Parenthood. Many claimed that the decision was made amidst pressure from political parties, and although the organization eventually revoked its decision, the event brought to light the fragility of women’s access to contraception and family planning resources, particularly for low-income women. Thursday’s rally is intended to raise awareness of these changing circumstances, as well as keep with the traditions of International Women’s Day.

It is estimated that more than 250 International Women’s Day events will take place across the country this week, and more than 1500 around the globe. Other International Women’s Day events taking place in San Diego include an evening event titled “Leadership Connections” sponsored by Qualcomm and Qualcomm Women in Science and Engineering. The event will feature Dr. Lois Frankel, author of “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” and will include a book signing.

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