Today, Tuesday the 8th of March 2022, is International Women’s Day (IWD). There are two themes this year that you are likely to come across. First is #BreakTheBias. as shown on the International Women’s Day Website. There, they explain that this year is all about building a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. The second theme I have now seen a few times is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, for example on the UN Women Website.
Both of them focus on gender equality. In a world where women are still affected by deliberate and unconscious bias every single day, it’s important to build an understanding of what this means for you but also for those women who experience additional bias on top of being a woman. Whether this is because of religion, race, sexuality or other reasons, on this day we need to fight against all types of discrimination for a truly equal future.
Determining the starting point of IWD is actually somewhat complicated, every website will give you a slightly different answer (especially if they are from different countries). History.com states that there is controversy surrounding this, with many claiming it started in 1907, to mark “the 50th anniversary of a brutally repressed protest by New York City’s female garment and textile workers”, yet, there is not much proof these actually took place. What we do know is that the day wasn’t officially accepted by the UN until 1975. In 2001, the internationalwomensday.com website was launched with the mission of educating the public about this day as well as streamlining communication surrounding the day.
I know that not everyone is a fan of having one day to highlight women’s struggles and things such as the gender pay gap, global inequalities and abuse. While I agree, I always think it’s an important reminder, especially for all those who don’t identify as women. A reminder that in the UK, in 2021 the gender pay gap was still 7.9%. A reminder that the pandemic has worsened the situation for many women globally. A reminder that we can’t walk down a street at night and feel safe. A reminder that 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women. A reminder that 80% of the displaced by climate-related disasters and changes around the world are women and girls.
So, with that in mind, I hope you celebrate International Women’s Day! Celebrate the women in your life, the women fighting for their basic rights daily, the women protecting their children from war, every single woman that identifies as a woman, the women who paved the way before us. Let’s fight for an equal and inclusive future!