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International Women’s Day Marks Struggle and Progress

International Women's Day was this week. It's a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women world-wide. Also this week, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.


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It was a slogan that turned into a song sung by many people, And this is Judy Collins’s version.

“Give us bread but give us roses”

That slogan: ‘Bread and Roses’ is associated with strikes and protests of women garment workers in the early 1900’s. University of Houston Women’s Studies Professor Elizabeth Gregory says the day started in the US, and then spread world-wide.

“It’s been a marker of ongoing progress over the years but a continuing reminder, as well, of the fact that women still face lower wages than men and limited work options.”

Gregory says some notable women’s history and accomplishments, not necessarily on this day in March, include the 1977 National Women’s Conference and the election of two female mayors: Kathy Whitmire and Annise Parker.

A recent sign of progress, but still a mark of things to do is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Rebecca White, with the Houston Area Women’s Center, says the 1994 law failed congressional reauthorization starting in 2012.  White’s a believer in the law.

“We have seen since 1994, the incidence of these kinds of crimes against women have gone down. So it works.”

The law would allow $659 million in annual funding to go nationally to places like shelters, police and hospitals.