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On March 8, all women, including mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and girlfriends, celebrate International Women's Day.
On that day every woman awaits congratulations from her family members, relatives, friends, co-workers, etc. Men and women present flowers, postcards with poetry, chocolate, and other pleasant gifts to their mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and daughters. But especially, according to the tradition, women expect attention, flowers, gifts and pleasant surprises mostly from men.
On that day, some men like to undertake all household duties -- from washing dishes to cooking dinner and looking after children, so that women can enjoy a full day of rest.
International Women's Day is currently an official holiday in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
Moreover, Women's Day is similar to the Mother's Day, which is mostly celebrated in the United States, Turkey, European countries, India, Japan, Australia, etc.
'A promise is a promise'
This year's theme for International Women's Day, "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women", seeks to strengthen the international community's commitment to put an end to violence against women. As part of the effort the UN leads to fight violence against women, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's UNiTE campaign calls on all governments, civil society, women's organizations, men, young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing this global pandemic.
"We declare that we will prosecute crimes against women - and never allow women to be subjected to punishments for the abuses they have suffered," Ban Ki-moon said in a message over International Women's Day.
He said all women have a fundamental human right to be free of violence.
Women's Day in Azerbaijan
As mentioned above, Azerbaijan is one of the countries celebrating International Women's Day on March 8. It is an official holiday and day-off in the country.
An Azerbaijani woman is a symbol of elegance and beauty and is considered the protector of the household.
Azerbaijan was the first country to have granted women the right of vote, which is the fundamental basis of a democratic society.
Today, Azerbaijani women occupy an important place in society. They are closely involved in the socio-political, socio-economic, scientific-cultural and other areas of life.
Also, Azerbaijani women successfully represent the country abroad and play a significant role in bringing the realities about Azerbaijan into the world's consideration.
According to the State Statistics Committee of Azerbaijan, as of early March 2013, women accounted for 50.3 percent of the total population of the country, or 4,716,300 people.
According to the data, 57.3 percent of women are in their reproductive years, and, on average, every 10 women give birth to 23 children. In 2012, 46.4 percent of newborns were girls.
The issue of maintaining strong health of the women is one of the priorities for the government. There are 24 maternity hospitals, 176 centers on counseling for women, 281 children's clinics and an ambulatory. Life expectancy for women exceeds the life expectancy of men by 5.3 years, making up 76.6 years.
The total number of women actively participating in the social and economic life of the country comprises 48.4 percent of the total employed population.
Most of the working women in Azerbaijan are involved in the educational sphere. Women make up 76.3 percent of the total number of teachers in secondary schools, 77.4 percent of the total number of teachers in vocational schools, 49 percent of the teachers in higher educational institutions, and 63.9 percent of the doctors.
45.9 percent of the total number of pupils, 66.3 percent of the total students in vocational educational institutions and 48 percent of university students are female.
Women also play a major role in the development of science. 30.8 percent of PhD candidates and 53.6 percent of all academics are women. Over the past five years the number of women dealing with scientific research with a doctorate increased by 25.2 per cent and the number of women with a PhD rose 15 percent. Three academic and 11 associate members of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences are women.
The overall percentage of women in public service is 28 percent and 17 percent of entrepreneurs are women.
The number of women in parliament is also increasing. Whereas in 1990, women made up 4.3 percent of the total number of deputies, in 2000 the figure made up 10.7 percent, and today female lawmakers make up 16 percent of all MPs.
Azerbaijani women have made significant achievements in sports. The number of women involved in sports is 39.8 percent.
At the latest municipal elections, compared to the previous elections the number of women increased five-fold and reached 4,194 (26.1 percent of the total figure).
In recent years the number of female car drivers has also increased. Thus, in 2005 the number of female drivers was 2,285, and in 2012 it reached 7,411.