Every year, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day across the globe. The day commemorates the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements made by women in various fields. It is a significant occasion for all involved in the fight for gender equity and equality. The day’s conception is embedded with the worldwide struggle for better living and working conditions for women.
Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.
For over a hundred years, International Women’s Day has put the spotlight onto issues affecting women all over the world. Today, International Women’s Day belongs to everyone who believes that women’s rights are human rights. In some countries, children and men give presents, flowers or cards to their mothers, wives, sisters or other women they know. But at the heart of International Women’s Day lies women’s rights. Across the world, there are protests and events to demand equality.
Many women wear purple, a colour worn by women who campaigned for women’s right to vote. Recently, marches and protests have gained force thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual harassment. There is still a lot of work to be done for gender equality. But women’s movements all over the world are ready to do that work and are gaining momentum.
The theme for this year’s Women’s Day, according to the United Nations is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” and it aims to emphasise the importance of technology in bringing gender issues to light.
History of International Women’s Day-
The concept of International Women’s Day first emerged in the early 1900s. Women’s Day first came into existence in 1909 and it was known as National Women’s Day. The day was initially celebrated on 28 February 1909, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights.
Around the same time in Europe, in 1910 to be precise, the second International Conference of Working Women was held in Denmark’s Copenhagen, where Clara Zetkin, who led the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day and on March 9, 1911, International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
The United Nations (UN) started celebrating International Women’s Day in 197 and in 1977, it was officially agreed that the day will be widely observed on March 8 every year.
Significance of International Women’s Day
Gender inequality and discrimination are rampant in our societies, and most of the time, women are victims of them. To fight these gender biases and to bring attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women, International Women’s Day is celebrated. It has become a forum to raise awareness and galvanise change in society.
Need for International Women’s Day-
Across the world, less than 15 per cent of the world’s countries have a female leader. Only 24 per cent of senior managers are women and 25 per cent of companies have no female senior managers at all. Women do the lowest-paid jobs and earn less money for the same work.
This difference in pay is called the gender pay gap, and for young women in many places, including Britain and America, the gap is getting worse. Women are also more likely to do most of the housework and childcare. All of these problems affect women of colour even more than they do white women.
When it comes to healthcare and safety, women also face significant inequalities. An estimated 830 women a day die in childbirth. There are some shocking statistics for female murder too. Last year the UN found that 137 women a day were killed by their partner or former partner.
Worldwide, over 50 per cent of female murders are committed by the victim’s partner or family. When they have access to health education and care, women are also more likely to be ignored by doctors when they say they are in pain, and serious health problems are sometimes ignored for years.
Colours symbolising women’s day-
Purple, green and white are the colours of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity and being loyal to the cause. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
The AIM of International Women’s Day is to support the supporters, and to encourage worldwide engagement and collective action in advancing women’s equality. Everyone everywhere can help forge women’s equality. Collective action and collaborative support for forging women’s equality matters, and all groups should be welcome to advance women’s equality by whatever appropriate means they choose.