March to End Violence Against Women - Friday
Denise Hyland, Rachel De La Haya, Sister Eileen Reilly, Sister Sharon Kanis and Mary Packard advocate for education for all women during the March on March 8 demonstration.
Demonstrating at the United Nations
Marching through snow and sleet, several hundred women, including the delegation from the School Sisters of Notre Dame, demonstrated at the United Nations on International Women’s Day Friday to end violence and discrimination against women and girls.
The March on March 8, organized by UN Women, included dignitaries and celebrities passionate about issues affecting women. Ban Soon-taek, patron of UN Women for Peace and wife of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, opened the event.
“Every women and girl has the right to live free from violence and threats," Ban said, looking out over a sea of umbrellas. “It may seem impossible to end all attacks on women and girls, but when I look at you I know it is possible. This is a movement whose time has come."
Speaking and singing on behalf of women and girls
Actress Susan Sarandon read a statement from Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot on her school bus for speaking up for girls’ right to an education.
The march started at the United Nations Headquarters and continued for about one-quarter of a mile to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza where they were greeted by the new song "One Woman," which was written for UN Women and launched on International Women’s Day.
Speakers also included Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of UN Women; model Christy Turlington; and actresses Kelly Rutherford and Alexandra Richards.
'... did my heart good'
“What did my heart good,” said Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND, “was seeing the wives of the U.N. secretary general and the ambassador from Qatar on stage. Their husbands also were both on stage, but they sat there and let their wives take the leadership roles.”
After the event, Sister Sharon Kanis, SSND, spoke with Sarandon as she was leaving the stage.
“I said, ‘I want to tell you something. I’ve been a teacher for 50 years, and I always tell my students that in my next life I want to be an actress because you have so much impact on women in the world.’ She smiled and asked ‘where?’ She looked very interested when I said I was a teacher,” said Kanis, who is a professor at SSND-sponsored Notre Dame of Maryland University.
UN Women for Peace is focused on supporting and funding United Nations' humanitarian programs for women in developing countries and countries in conflict. Since its inception, UN Women for Peace has sponsored scholarships to benefit underprivileged women to study at the University for Peace.