Now is a critical moment in the struggle for gender equality. As the world gives shape to a new development agenda, we have set our sights on 2030 as the expiration date for gender inequality.
First thing first, what’s International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognized each year on March 8.
This year there is a Google Doodle marking the celebration featuring women and girls across the world who complete the sentence ‘One day I will’, talking about their dreams and ambitions.
Google visited 13 countries and spoke to 337 women to create the video. Their goals varied from “swimming with pigs in the Bahamas” to “giving a voice to those girls who can’t speak”.
Women and girls who are inspired by the doodle are encouraged to take to Twitter to share their own aspirations with the hashtag #OneDayIWill.
How did it start?
It’s difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours.
A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on 28 February in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities”.
Why do we still celebrate it?
The original aim of the day – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence is still worse than that of men.
On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognize these inequalities – whilst celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
The International Women’s Day website says: “Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.
“The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap would not close entirely until 2133.
So, this year THEME (2016):
The idea is to accelerate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which was formally adopted by world leaders at a 2015 UN summit. It focuses on reducing poverty, huger, disease and gender equality.
Key gender equality data:
- Only 22% of world parliamentarians are women. It doubled between 1995 en 2015
- Only 50% of women of working age in the world actually work. For men it is 75%
- Women earn 24% less then men worldwide.
- Out of the 500 companies listed by Fortune magazine in 2014, only 25 women (5%) are CEOs. There was only one women in 1998.
- Almost all developing countries have reached gender parity in primary schools.
- Literacy has risen from 76% in 1990 to 85% in 2013 worldwide, but women account for 60% of all illiterate people in the world.
- Women’s presence in the media: 17% in 1995; 24% in 2010.
- In 2000 resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council recognizes that wars have different consequences on men and women, emphasizing the importance of having women involved in peace talks.
- Between 1992-2011 only 9% of negotiators participating in peace talks were women.
- One in every three women is the victim of physical or sexual violence worldwide, most of which is carried out by an intimate partner.
(Source: The United Nations)
How do we want to celebrate IWD 2016?
1. Make a pledge for parity.
You simply go to the IWD website and pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; call for gender-balanced leadership and create flexible cultures.
2. Do what you know you need to do.
I know, enough COPYING, you just do what you think you should do: help female colleague, listen to whoever woman, understand them, respect them a little bit more, share chores with them, whatever you can think of to make 2030’s dream come true.
3. Repeat number 2.
How are other countries?
On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers
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