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Our weekly roundup of what we’re reading includes a few select articles from the front lines of human rights that we don’t want you to miss. This week’s focus: A Day Without Women.

A Day Without Women strikers in New York City, March 8, 2017
Women and allies join the International Women’s Strike and march to celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 8​, 2017, in New York City.

Below is an excerpt from U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s statement on International Women’s Day 2017

Today we honor the human rights struggle of millions of women who have demanded respect for their rights and the rights of others. The women’s movement has brought about tremendous change but we must also recognize that progress has been slow and extremely uneven.

Progress has also brought its own challenges. In too many countries, we are now seeing a backlash against women’s rights, a backlash that hurts us all. We need to be alert – the advances of the last few decades are fragile and should nowhere be taken for granted…

I salute the frequently under-reported and under-funded but absolutely vital work of women’s human rights defenders. These activists are often targeted, even killed, because of their efforts to promote gender equality. My Office has received information from numerous countries about the threats, violence and legal barriers, including criminalization of their work, which these defenders face.

These courageous women, despite many obstacles, stand up for others’ rights, mobilize movements from the grassroots upwards, and potentially have the greatest and most lasting impact on women’s rights and gender equality.

We need to stand beside them and stand up for them, and in so doing we will be standing up for the rights of us all.

Read the full statement here.

Women in More Than 50 Countries Set to Strike Today on International Women’s Day, Democracy Now!, Tithi Bhattacharya, March 8, 2017

Tithi Bhattacharya, associate professor of South Asian history at Purdue University, spoke with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman about International Women’s Day and the activities taking place around the world. Bhattarchaya helped to organize, “A Day Without a Woman,” a call for women to strike across the globe.

In what it means to strike, Bhattacharya stated, “It was important to emphasize that women do not just work in the paid labor market, in the employment sector, in the formal sectors of the economy. Women also do the unpaid labor, the care work, the picking up of the children from the school, and the countless hours that women put in. So when we say “Women’s Strike,” [it] also means, “I will not cook today, and I will stand in solidarity with women in 50 countries as I walk out.”

Thoughts on the International Women’s Strike and What It Meant, New York Magazine: The Cut, Dayna Evans, March 9, 2017

New York Magazine staff joined in Wednesday’s strike and offered their takeaways and reflections. Some of our favorites:

  • Protesting felt important because I think there is something rooted and energizing about bodies organizing together for the same cause, and it felt even better because I was with the women I work with, who were also striking — including our boss and her family.”
  • I thought a lot yesterday about the varying degrees of powerlessness for women. Not even women in other countries who can’t go to school or can’t even get a driver’s license, but women right next to me.”
Other articles we recommend:
  • Enviro groups blast Trump plan to gut EPA’s environmental justice office as a ‘racist slap in the face,‘ Fusion, Lucas Isakowitz, March 9, 2017.
    Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration will slash programs that help address pollution problems disproportionately faced by communities of color across the country; in response, environmental groups have condemned the cuts as racist and called for Congress to intervene. This article features work done by UUSC’s partner, the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise.