International Women's Day: They Are Women, Hear Them Roar

international womens day Men and women are just about evenly split, if you're counting. There is 1.01 man for each woman in the world, according to The CIA's World Factbook. That's about even to me.

But history has shown us that "even" or "equal" existence hasn't exactly been the global or U.S. equivalent of everyone joining hands, singing 'Kum Bah Yah.'

Women in the US=nited States get a month; March is Women's History Month. Women of the world get a commemorative day. We'll take what we can get.

Even before women earned the right to vote in 1920, the non-profit organization CARE started what's called "International Women's Day," held each year on March 8. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of celebrating women.

Why do it?

While it does seem times have changed for the better, Dr. Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, tells AOL Jobs we still need an International Women's Day.

"Women are running for office and winning. Women are entrepreneurs. They run large companies. They're scientists, academics and athletes," Gayle says. "[But] Girls and women are denied equality in education, political power, economic opportunity, and even access to health care."

According to Gayle, equality pays. On a global scale.

"Nations with small gender gaps are more economically competitive than nations with large gender gaps," she says.

Courting history

In all of history, thousands of women stand out as role models, famous or not. But in the interest of space and time, CARE chose to highlight 10 women and men known for busting myths including:

  • Girls belong in marriage, not school
  • Women crack under pressure

Busting the first one: former Afghan King Amanullah Khan -- who, in the 1920s, opened schools for girls and women.

For the second, CARE points to a name a bit better known: Billie Jean King. Many of us remember (or heard of) her 1973 victory over retired tennis champion and vocal male chauvinist Bobby Riggs. But King also fought for equity with men in the money won for playing the game of tennis.

Dude, listen up

Men are not forgotten while the fairer sex is spotlighted. In fact, men benefited greatly from the work of labor organizer Clara Lemlich. She is poignant to identify as she led 20,000 factory workers in a four-month strike during 1909-1910, including those from the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York City. The result: Most factory workers earned better wages and faced better working conditions. Except those from the Triangle factory whose management wouldn't play. In March 1911, 146 women with no means to escape died in that factory as it went up in flames.

"There were more men working in factories than women," Gayle says -- men who would ultimately benefit from a woman's push for humane working conditions and wages.

It's all around you

A commemoration of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day will be visible for miles on March 8; New York's Empire State Building will glow orange in honor of women.

Washington, D.C., will host a conference featuring Melinda Gates, former first lady Laura Bush, and a performance by recording artist India.Arie.

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