Why You Need to Celebrate International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8th to honor the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Although not an official holiday in the United States, IWD is a recognized holiday in Afghanistan, Berlin, Cuba, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, and several other countries across the globe. Most importantly, it’s a day to raise discussion, demand action, and create awareness around gender equality.
Women’s Day dates back to the 1900s when thousands of female garment workers marched through New York City protesting for better working conditions and when Russian women fought for better rights and against the war in their own country. Well, over a hundred years later, and women still face gender inequality and prejudice. Women are still fighting for equal economic opportunities, educational equity, and to end gender-based violence.
Today, while we celebrate the many advances made by women, we must also acknowledge that the fight is not over. Here are three reasons why International Women’s Day is important.
Fewer Leadership Opportunities and Less Pay
Even with the pay gap narrowing, on average, women are still paid considerably less than men. And despite being more qualified than their male counterparts, women are overlooked for positions of leadership, both in business and in government. According to the U.N.’s Gender Social Norms Index, over 40% of both men and women think men make better business executives.
According to Michelle Obama, millions of girls are not in school, even today, in 2020. Access to education is far more difficult for girls and women across the globe. Female students are marginalized out of school simply because of their gender. Without an education, young girls around the world find themselves married and pregnant or working dangerous jobs for little to no pay.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Women everywhere are still victimized and silenced, leaving them with both short and long-term damage. Gender-Based Violence (GBV) can be physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, or emotional abuse occurring at work or home. Campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp have helped empower women to come forward with their stories, but because this type of abuse is mentally and emotionally crippling, we know that there are probably more women remaining silent than speaking up. According to U.N. Women, “working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence.”
International Women’s Day is not a day to overlook. It is a day to be celebrated so that we can continue the fight women before us fought and because there’s still so much work to be done for the women of our future.