International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an event dating back to the early 1900’s. Its aim is to bring governments, women’s organisations and charities together to celebrate and recognise women’s achievements, all the while highlighting that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve gender equality.
What’s the history though, where did it come from?
In 1908, women marched through New York City, whilst in the UK 300,000 – 500,000 activists rallied in Hyde Park for women’s right to vote, better pay and shorter working hours. Originally celebrated on 19th February, it has taken place on the 8th March since 1913.
But, women can vote now, and it seems all we talk about is feminism!
Yes, women have more of a platform now and things are on the side of change in a lot of ways (more so in the Western world) such as having the right to vote and seeing more women in leadership positions in business. But, have women actually achieved gender equality? The answer is still no.
We are slowly closing the gap but we still have far to go. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. In 2017 women essentially worked 51 days for free because, plainly speaking, the root of the matter is women’s work is less valued.
“Big up International Women’s Day in my opinion. There’s still so much work to be done on genuine equality” Harri Rose, a celebrated Health Coach from London tells us, “…it should be something we talk about every day not just the 8th of March… But it’s good to have a global platform”.
Is it all to do with the struggle?
The day is also an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come, past and recent.
- This year celebrated 100 years since the Representation of People Act was passed in Britain, giving some women the right to vote
- Iceland’s new legislation on the first Monday of 2018 has made it illegal to pay men more than women. Companies must obtain a government certification for their equal pay policies
- Women’s rights dominated the news in 2017 giving women a voice on the abuse and harassment through numerous industries, against Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men in power
But, what about International Man’s Day?
Yes, there is one! On November 19th, International Man’s Day is celebrated across 60 countries, where we celebrate health, promoting gender equality and highlighting positive male role models.
How do you feel?
Our Director Christine Christodoulou, grew up in a patriarchal society and told us “growing up IWD was the only day in the year where the women of Cyprus would go out. I didn’t realise growing up why this was, but now that I do, it makes me angry that we live in a world where we need ‘a day’”.
I am pleased to see so many of my friends, male and female, celebrating today and coming together for a common goal which is equality in all walks of life. And I’m hopeful there will be a bright future.
Let us know your opinion. What do you think of IWD?
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