BBC lauches special programming on International Women’s day

BBC's Extreme World series focuses on the issues around women's equality with a special series of programming – on radio, television and online – on a day that marks the 100 year anniversary of International Women's Day.

Launched in December 2010, Ex treme World examines a number of global issues and looks at their differences around the world. In March, the series will examine the different experiences of women around the world, asking them about the challenges they face and their hopes for the future.

From Tuesday 8 March, a series of special reports examines how much equality women command in their own society, examining areas that include education and health, to economic and political participation.

For these reports, Jonathan Head is in Turkey and Karen Allen in Lesotho – both countries rank at different ends of the World Economic Forum's index on the global gender gap* .

In Lesotho, Karen Allen explores the lives of three women including a female minister, female football coach and a rural mother caring for a large family. In Turkey, Jonathan Head talks to a prosperous woman living an increasingly westernised lifestyle and a woman working as a cleaner, who has been the victim of domestic violence and is now an NGO campaigner.

World Have your Say , the BBC's award-winning global interactive news discussion , is in Ghana to broadcast a special edition of the show. Hosted by Nuala McGovern, the programme connect s audiences in Ghana with people around the world. The programme will debate the following question on a day that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women over the last century- "Why do so many men around the world think it is okay to harass and sexually assault women? ” Broadcasts at 18:00 GMT Wednesday 8 March.

In Heart and Soul – Conquering Holy Ground , Jane Little meets women from three faiths who have broken the mould and taken on religious leadership roles which are usually seen as being exclusive to men. The programme features Chandrika Joshi, a female Hindu priest who is also a dentist and lives in Cardiff in Wales. Chandrika comes from a family of Hindu priests and was trained by her father. Female imam Halima Krausen leads prayers in a mixed congregation in Hamburg in Germany, while Colette Joyce from London has been convinced since her teenage years that she has a vocation to be a Catholic priest .

Witness , BBC World Service's daily history series will focus on Rosa Luxemburg, a leading activist in the international socialist movement at the beginning of the twentieth century . Rosa climbed to the top of German social democracy to become an internationally renowned writer and revolutionary before her murder in 1919. Broadcasts at 08:50 and 11:50 GMT Wednesday 8 March

Why is the Sky So Blue? , by a ward winning playwright Katie Hims, is a play that draws together the personal testimonies of seemingly ordinary people in Africa coming to terms with their own and their community's problems. It centres around the story of Dorothy, a widow, who begins to realise how her district is being devastated by the very things no one is prepared to talk about. As she comes to term s with her own story, she uncovers the answer to the many questions which have troubled her and her family – not least why the sky is blue. Starring Tanya Moodie, Ellen Thomas, Demi Oyediran and Isaac Ajala. P remieres at 20:00 GMT Saturday 12 March.

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