Today is International Women’s Day, and the Associated Press put together a good round-up of global news and events. The AP story kicks off with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the first woman in more than 20 years to chair a European summit, calling for gender equality, while Chile’s first female president, Michelle Bachelet, reveals how much life can change with a woman in charge.

During Bachelet’s first year in office, for instance, women have secured the right to breastfeed at work and there are equal numbers of women and men serving in top government jobs, including the president’s cabinet.

“Women came to Chilean politics to stay,” Bachelet said. “We want a society that includes everybody, where opportunities reach all its daughters and sons.”

Another AP story, just on women’s gains under Bachelet, is available here.

The United Nations’ focus this year is on “Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls.” Here’s a short list of facts and figures concerning violence against women worldwide.

Today, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all nations to end “the pandemic” of violence against girls and women. “It is tolerated under the fallacious cover of cultural practices and norms, within the walls of the home,” he said at the U.N. commemoration of International Women’s Day. “Or it is used as a weapon in armed conflict, condoned through tacit silence and passivity by the state and the law enforcement community.”

More news stories and blog links are available at Subterranean Homepage News and Our Bodies, Our Blog.

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