Today, the 8th of March marks a significant day for women all around world. As we celebrate International Women’s Day today we also salute the achievements, the strength and unshakeable spirit of the modern women. Originating from the early 1900s, International Women’s Day may have been initiated as a political event but now it is observed not only as a global celebration but also a call for gender equality.
15, 000 women marched against inequality and oppression through New York in 1908 demanding for voting rights, better pay and shorter hours. The first National Woman’s Day was celebrated on 28th of February 1909 in the US as declared by the Socialist Party of America. The following year Clara Zetkin, a prominent figure in the feminist movement proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day that would help women put forward their issues. In the subsequent years, International Women’s Day was celebrated around various parts of the world.
Every year diverse organizations and entities around the globe adopt themes to raise awareness about women’s issues. While there has been a significant shift in attitudes and policies relating to gender equality, there is still a long way to go. Issues like disparities in pay, under-representation of women in business/politics and violence against women is still prevalent.
The UN has declared the International Women’s Day theme for 2016 as ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality’. Financial firm Ernst & Young and other corporations are also running campaigns around the #PledgeForParity hashtag. It’s important that each of us take responsibility for our actions and fight gender equality in our own communities.
“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie