8th March 2021 is International Women’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating, empowering, and uplifting women all over the world. The day also acts as a reminder of the need for action to achieve gender equality and gender parity.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is “Choose to Challenge”. This theme focuses on the ways in which we can challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, to help create a more inclusive and equal world.
IWD was first celebrated all the way back in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. On the 19th March, over one million women and men attended IWD rallies. These rallies campaigned for women’s rights to vote, work, seek training, hold public office and to end discrimination.
IWD is not specific to any country, group, organisation, political party, charity, or otherwise. The day is celebrated by people everywhere, all doing what they can to make positive steps towards equality for women. On the IWD website, (internationalwomensday.com) there is a quote from Gloria Steinem; who is a world renowned feminist, journalist, and activist. She said: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
Some people question the need for IWD, they see the progress that’s been made and think it’s enough, but there’s more work to do. As of early 2020, only 27.3% of senior ministers in the UK Government were women, this is the lowest it’s been since 2014. One in three women experience gender-based violence. There is still a huge issue with the gender pay gap, with women in the UK ending up working for free for two months of the year.
However, a lot of progress is being made; more girls are in education, fewer girls are forced into early marriage, and more women are serving in parliament and leadership positions. For example we recently saw Kamala Harris become the first ever female vice president of the USA, becoming the highest ranking female official in American history.
IWD is an incredible movement and has been making amazing progress for over 100 years. To find out more, visit www.internationalwomensday.com.