Happy International Women's Day!

Women's rights defenders
AFP/Getty Images

Women and men around the world today have been celebrating International Women's Day, which has been observed now for nearly 100 years.

And how things have changed in the past century. In 1907, New Zealand and Finland were the only countries where women had full voting rights. In the United States, women didn't get the vote until 1920. It took all the way until 1971 for Swiss women to gain suffrage. Most recently, in 2005, Kuwaiti women at last gained access to the ballot box. And now, for the first time, a woman is a credible candidate for U.S. president.

I often reflect on how life has so radically changed for women in my own family. Neither of my grandmothers, who lived in India, had a high school education. One got married at age 13 and had her first child at 16. My mother was able to attain a college degree in India, and by the time she was the age that I am now, she was a married stay-at-home mom in the United States with two kids. Today, I am a woman who has a graduate degree, works a full-time job, and is nowhere close to having kids.

How fast women's roles have been changing!

As we reflect on achievements, though, let's not forget that much work still needs to be done. Today, sixty million girls are not in school. Preferences for sons has led to gender imbalances in parts of India and China. And in sub-Saharan Africa, women's lower social status is causing them to get infected with HIV in higher numbers than men.

It all makes me wonder: In 2107, how will women be doing?


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