International women’s day is celebrated across the nations of the world to appreciate women on March 8th every year. “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world”, says United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres. Gender equality is so important to the UN that it is central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and the continued fight for women’s rights is marked each year by International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place on March 8 every year. It began as National Women’s Day in the United States in February 1909. The following year, at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, women’s rights activist, Clara Zetkin, called for an international women’s day to give women a greater voice to further their demands for equal rights.
It was unanimously approved by the female attendees from 17 countries, including Finland’s first three women MPs. International Women’s Day was marked for the first time in March 1911, and the date was later fixed as March 8 in 1913. The United Nations celebrated it for the first time in 1975.
Celebrating IWD Around the World
International Women’s Day is celebrated as a national event by countries across the globe, with women often given flowers and gift, and there are IWD events in major cities worldwide.
On 8 March, 1914, there was a women’s suffrage march in London, calling for women’s right to vote, at which high-profile campaigner, Sylvia Pankhurst, was arrested.
In 2001, the internationalwomensday.com platform was launched to reignite attention for the day, celebrate women’s achievements and continue to call for gender parity.
On the centenary in 2011, former sitting US President, Barack Obama, called for March to be known as Women’s History Month. He said: “History shows that when women and girls have access to opportunity, societies are more just, economies are more likely to prosper, and governments are more likely to serve the needs of all their people”.
State of Gender Inequality Globally
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled progress towards achieving gender parity per the latest Global Gender Gap Report.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 156 countries across four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment) and tracks progress towards closing gender gaps over time.
The global average distance to parity grew in 2021, according to the report, which found it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap compared to 99.5 years in 2020. Of the four gaps tracked, Political Empowerment remained the largest, with only 22% closed, and having widened since 2020 by 2.4 percentage points.
Strike the IWD #BreakTheBias Pose
Each year, there’s a different theme to mark IWD, and this year, it’s #BreaktheBias. According to a statement by unwomen.org, bias, whether unconscious or deliberate, can make it difficult for women to progress in their careers or even receive the right healthcare. Jessica Nordell, author of ‘The End of Bias’, noted that “everyday incidents of gender bias, such as women receiving less credit in mixed work groups accumulate, creating the so-called glass ceiling which sees far fewer women in c-suites globally”.
This year, International Women’s Day is urging everyone to “actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it”, and to cross arms to show solidarity.
“Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources etc on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world”.IWD
Source: The VaultNews