As this issue was going to print, the world observed International Women’s Day. Marked on the 8th of March each year, IWD takes on different forms in many parts of the world. In Eastern Europe, March 8th is a hybrid of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, with women receiving flowers and gifts as a form of appreciation from their male relatives and loved ones. Elsewhere, the political message behind March 8th remains at the forefront, with the UN declaring “Equality for Women is Progress for All” as this year’s theme.
In the fight for women’s progress and equality around the world, one woman caught our attention. Her name is Laxmi, and at just 16 years of age she became the victim of an acid attack at a bus stop in India. Her attacker was an acquaintance seeking revenge after Laxmi refused his romantic advances. Instead of hiding as countless other victims have done, Laxmi became the brave face of a powerful movement to curb acid sales and an advocate for the victims. The Indian Supreme Court called for the immediate regulation of acid sales and the aid and rehabilitation of victims following this brave young woman’s many television appearances and volunteer efforts.
Laxmi received global attention after she was awarded the International Women of Courage Award, but that hardly means that our work in international women’s rights is finished. Here in North America, it can be all too easy to forget the struggle for women’s equality around the world—from India to Afghanistan and the Congo. As always, our pages are filled with women who have inspired others through their dedication to their work, their talent and their unflinching determination. Among them is this month’s cover girl: Merle Oberon. This Hollywood screen legend dazzled audiences with her beauty and commanding performances in Hollywood’s Golden Age, but the starlet had a secret. Priya Kumar reveals what Oberon tried to keep hidden in our must-read cover story. (p.38)
As summer becomes less of a distant promise and more of a tangible reality, we bring you the latest must-have trends to wear now and during the heat waves to come. Our fashion coverage is our most diverse yet, as we look at talented names from London, Paris, Mumbai and Namibia.
Lastly, we look back on one particularly frosty winter day when Canada took on the US in the Northeast semi-finals in Polo. Did Canada make it to the finals? Read on to find out. (p. 70) On the same day as the Polo match, the Canadian men’s hockey team battled Sweden for the gold medal in Sochi. I’m sure that our readers are as pleased as we are with their victory, as well as that of the women’s hockey team and the gold medal sweep by both the men’s and women’s curling teams.
Although International Women’s Day has come and gone, I urge you to be reminded of the plight for equality and fairness each day. It shouldn’t take a holiday to raise global awareness to this critical cause.