March 06, 2012

International Women’s Day 2012: 8 March

Theme: Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty

Catherine wrote ‘The principal aim of this congregation is to educate poor girls, to lodge and keep poor young women until they can provide for themselves in some suitable way, and to visit the sick poor.’ [Letter late 1833-early 1834]. Touched by God’s mercy and compassion and fired by the inspiration of the Gospel and Catherine McAuley, we give expression today to that same concern for women. Catherine would certainly support the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day: Empower Women: End Hunger and Poverty.

In 1910, at an International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, a woman named a Clare Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) promoted the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands.

International Women's Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March 1911. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. Since that time many countries have celebrated 8 March as IWD holding large-scale events to honour women's advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day.

The day is about celebrating the vital role women play in enhancing church and society while recognising that significant barriers to achieving women's equality continue to exist.

Let us join together as Mercy to make a difference, think globally and act locally, making every day International Women's Day to ensure that the future for women and girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. Visit our own Mercy Global Action site.

Read more about International Women’s day activities around the world at: and

You might also like the prayer, specially prepared by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas to celebrate this day.

Messages to: Mary Reynolds rsm

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