International Women's Day
Paying Tribute to All Women
with Love, Conscience, and a Culture of Peace
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
March 8, 2021
International Women's Day is a day to commemorate the contributions women have made to our society. Women play an important role in all aspects of life, such as the economy, politics, environment, culture, education, etc. Currently, the world remains deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, women, in particular, have exercised strong will, wisdom, and caring love to overcome many problems we have faced. Through today's event, we would like to thank women all over the world, whether they are front-line medical professionals or selfless and loving women in their families and communities. No matter what field and position they are in, they are important forces to facilitate social progress and bring stability to the world.
The basic rights of women, such as the right to education, suffrage, and political rights, have finally been universally recognized through painstaking endeavors in the past hundred years. Goal 5 of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals is “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” It is made clear that people should be treated equally, regardless of their gender. There are also many examples of women promoting change. Heads of state and leaders of international organizations have also called attention to issues related to women's human rights. The protection of human rights must take root. We must start with educating people to respect human rights from an early age. In a good culture and with a quality education, people will develop healthy personalities and undertake the mission of ensuring sustainable development.
The yin alone does not reproduce and the yang alone does not develop. This is the principle of interdependence of all things in the universe. In the Daoist philosophy of yin and yang, women represent the yin while men represent the yang. Each person has his or her own strengths. The yin and the yang, when combined, represent the unity of strong power and gentle temperament, mutually reinforcing each other and creating a continuous cycle of human society. Mother Earth holds and encompasses everything in the world, demonstrating the best example of the harmony between yin and yang. Before life, there is no gender, and all are equal. We must learn from the natural principles of the universe, understand and respect each other, and integrate differences so as to develop a balanced and harmonious environment beneficial to all.
We must be grateful for what we have. Everyone came to this world after his/her mother was pregnant for nine months, experiencing physical and mental pain. We should be grateful for being given life and innate conscience. Conscience is the beginning of birth, the fire of life, the source of kindness, and the pivot of peace. We should encourage each other to use good intentions to unlock the key of conscience hidden deep inside our hearts, which can unleash the inherent human kindness as well as guide people to make the right decisions and move in the right direction. Therefore, we hereby urge everyone to practice and protect women's rights with a heart of respect and gratitude.
This year we are celebrating the 110th International Women's Day, and this year's theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” Because of the pandemic, there has been a significant slowdown in economic activity and an increase in the number of people out of school. Many social problems have occurred, including violence, racial discrimination, and gender-based violence resulting from physical and mental imbalances, as well as anxiety and fear caused by more subtle psychological disorientation. All of these have led to human rights violations against women and girls. An unbalanced world invariably has a negative impact on men and is detrimental to the sustainable development of humanity.
Whether it is to alleviate the negative impact of the pandemic on women and humanity or to eliminate social chaos, we have to resort to our common core as a human race, which is conscience. Conscience gives us the courage to pursue, speak out, and take action for fairness and equality. We have to let our conscience lead us to respect everyone, regardless of gender. Through conscience, love can be guided and realized. Only with love, will human rights and equality become possible, and peace can be achieved through human rights. Let us use the power of conscience to promote change and take action for world peace and harmony.
In July 2019, the United Nations designated April 5 as the International Day of Conscience. In the summer of 2020, the Executive Board of UNESCO adopted a decision, requesting that the International Day of Conscience be celebrated annually on April 5 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and in UNESCO field offices, with the participation of Member States and other partners. Promoting education of conscience and creating a culture of love and peace is a common goal that all humanity can strive for.
Over the past decade or two, many women have taken on the positions of heads of state in various countries, demonstrating their excellent leadership and creativity. They have brought thought-provoking ideas and impacts to the long-established male-dominated power structure and created new horizons. Looking forward to the future, we hope that everyone will realize that the essence of life is conscience. We must create a culture of peace and conscience and promote education of conscience. A good culture will lead to a good education. A quality education will lead to a healthy economy, and then peace and prosperity will become possible. We hope that everyone will emulate the selflessness of Mother Earth and love the people of the world with compassion. Our days in this world are numbered, so let us encourage each other to make the most of our energy while applying love and conscience to create and maintain a virtuous cycle of kindness in society. Let us realize human rights, fairness, and justice, make sustainable development possible, and create more value in our lives.
Happy Women's Day to all ladies. May all our friends and guests be blessed with peace and happiness. Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY's virtual event in support of UN International Women's Day