March 8th: Celebrating International Women's Day
On 8th of March, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated every year. It is a day to honor the women who have made significant contributions to society, including scientists, activists, politicians, writers, and artists. It is also a day to highlight the challenges that women face, such as gender-based violence, discrimination, and unequal access to education, healthcare, and employment. #EmbraceEquity is the hashtag used for this year's IWD's theme.
The history of IWD dates back over a century, and it has evolved over time to become a global celebration of women's rights and accomplishments. The first IWD was observed on February 28th, 1909, in New York City, United States. The event was organized by the Socialist Party of America to honor a strike by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). The strike was organized by the women garment workers who demanded better working conditions, higher wages, and voting rights. The first IWD was observed with rallies and speeches advocating for women's rights.
Women have made significant progress in many areas, but there is still much work to be done to achieve gender equality. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, it will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap completely. In many nations, women still earn less than males and are underrepresented in leadership roles. Women are also more likely to be affected by poverty, and they bear the brunt of unpaid care work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that women face. Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, both economically and socially. They are more likely to work in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as hospitality and retail. They are also more likely to work in informal jobs, which often lack social protections. The pandemic has also increased the burden of unpaid care work, as schools and childcare centers have been closed.
Why do people wear purple to celebrate IWD?
As stated in the International Women's Day website, purple, green, and white are the IWD's official colors.
"The color purple stands for dignity and justice. Green represents hope. White is said to symbolize purity, yet this idea is controversial. Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908 that came up with the theme colors" they say.
International Women's Day 2023 is focused on women in leadership. Women are underrepresented in leadership positions in all sectors, including politics, business, and academia. According to the United Nations, women make up only 25% of parliamentarians worldwide, and only 22% of top executives in the private sector. Women are also underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Increasing the number of women in leadership positions is essential for achieving gender equality. Women leaders bring a different perspective to decision-making and can help to create more inclusive policies and practices. They can also serve as role models for other women and girls, inspiring them to pursue leadership positions.
In conclusion, International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to call for gender equality. While there has been progress, more effort has to be done to achieve gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that women face, and the theme for International Women's Day 2023, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world," emphasizes the importance of increasing the number of women in leadership positions. Achieving gender equality requires a collective effort from governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals.
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