Message on the Occasion of International Women’s Day 2018

8 March 2018.

As in earlier years, the Universal Esperanto Association is an enthusiastic participant in celebration of International Women’s Day. The Association notes that at the beginning of the past century many women actively contributed to the movement for linguistic human rights at the same time as they contributed to the beginnings and growth of the movement for women’s rights. The journey taken by both movements is intertwined, long and impressive, even if still incomplete

In the area closest to our activities, we note that, according to UNESCO’s research, 40% of the population does not have access to education in a language that it understands, and 617 million children do not reach a minimum level of reading capability. In this group, the majority are girls, and our movement is particularly concerned with this section of the population, organizing literacy courses for women in local languages, most recently in Africa. We expect to continue our work in this field also because we believe that educated women can be a powerful factor in sustainable development

We are not unaware of the other tasks of the movement for women’s rights in such fields as salary equality and protection from sexual harassment. At the same time, we recognize the importance of women in the defence of the cultural identities of smaller peoples – and sometimes of larger ones too. Many such peoples now find themselves under pressure from the more destructive forms of globalization. The international language Esperanto is a remedy in the hands of all people who wish to arrive at a situation of dialogue, rather than conflict, among civilizations. The contribution of women to these efforts is indispensable.