Fall brings a myriad of important days as well as the change in leaf colors on trees.
Here are some dates to think about:
August 26: Women’s Equality Day
Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the United States President to commemorate the granting of the vote to women throughout the country.
Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law. The amendment was first introduced many years earlier in 1878. Every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1972, the year after legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug. This resolution was passed in 1971 designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.
September 8: World Literacy Day
September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.
Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
According to UNESCO’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)“, South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (59.7%), and the Arab States(62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12.8%), Niger (14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.
Celebrations of International Literacy Day have included specific themes, in line with Education For All goals and other United Nations programs such as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The celebration’s theme for 2007 and 2008 was “Literacy and Health”, with prizes awarded to organizations at the forefront of health education. This was also the thematic emphasis of the 2007-2008 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade. In particular, International Literacy Day 2008 had a strong emphasis on Literacy and Epidemics with a focus on communicable diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some of the world’s forefront public health concerns. For 2009-2010 the emphasis was placed on “Literacy and Empowerment” with special consideration to Gender Equality and the empowerment of women.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. International Literacy Day 2016 celebrates and honours the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.
The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all. UNESCO Director-General