International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. According to the International Women’s Day website, this day aims to “celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.”

Since the beginning of the 20th century, many protests/strikes have taken place against the oppression/discrimination women face to demand more rights. In 1909, in the U.S., the Socialist Party of America established the National Woman’s Day. One year after, at the International Conference of Working Women, the International Women’s Day was proposed and adopted as a way “to press for their demands” and ask for more rights. The first time this day was celebrated was on March 19th, 1911.

Women across many countries protested against World War I. For example, in Russia, in 1917, there were intense protests on February 23rd of the Julian Calendar (equivalent to March 8th I, of the Gregorian one), claiming for “bread & peace” and demanding for more rights. This is why International Women’s Day is now celebrated on March 8th. Only in 1977, did the UN celebrate International Women’s Day for the first time.

Although International Women’s Day is 109 years old and women have many more rights than before, there is still a lot of work to be done. Make no mistake, thinking there is equality between genders. Here are some facts to prove it:

According to the UN, at least 200 million girls worldwide have been subjected to genital mutilation.

Between 1901 and 2019, 54 out of 919 persons who won a Nobel prize or an award in economic sciences were women.

According to the website “Girls, not Brides”, every minute, 23 girls get married before the age of 18.

The world average of women representatives in parliaments is 24.5%, as stated by the Inter Parliamentary Union.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 conducted by the World Economic Forum, showed that it will take 99.5 years to achieve gender equality.

Again, the World Economic Forum, showed “the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity” will close only in 257 years.

Thus, as you can imagine, this day is marked by celebrations, but also by protests to raise awareness of the political, social, cultural, professional disparities that women still face. To decrease gender gaps, men and women, governments and organisations need to raise awareness and fight against them.

This year’s theme is “Each for Equal”. The goal is to remind all of us that we are responsible for improving and working on gender equality. UN Women also set a theme for this year “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. It is a “multigenerational campaign” to achieve equality.

If you are now wondering how you can be part of the movement and celebrate this day, you can search for events near you on the International Women’s Day Website. Also, on this day wear purple clothes, as it is the official colour for this day. Share content related to the topic, with the hashtag #IWD2020 and #EachforEqual.

As the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said:

“Let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.”

References:

  1. Mind the 100 Year Gap, World Economic Forum
  2. About International Women’s Day, International Women’s Day
  3. The Radical Reason Why March 8 Is International Women’s Day, March 2018, Times
  4. International Women’s Day, Unesco
  5. Why International Women’s Day Isn’t Going Away, March 2019, New York Times