Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day but what does that mean? I know that March is Women’s History Month but honesty, this is the first I’ve heard of International Women’s Day. So if you’re like me, let’s get a clue together.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a corporate-sponsored global campaign to raise awareness of women’s issues worldwide. According to an article I found on the Vox Identities website it has radical origins. The Socialist Party of America organized the first National Women’s Day in New York in 1909 to commemorate the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Then National Women’s Day became International Women’s Day at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910, where more than 100 women from 17 countries decided to establish a worldwide day of celebration to press for working women’s demands. International Women’s Day became a more popularized holiday after 1977, when the United Nations invited member states to celebrate it on March 8th. The theme changes each year. There are dozens of events happening in several different countries to support issues involving women and bring awareness to the cause.
So it seems that International Women’s Day has been around for quite some time and people like me are just catching wind of it thanks to social media. According to the IWD website, today is the day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Yet, also to be aware that progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity. According to the United Nation’s annual report on the progress of the world’s women, the worldwide gap between women and men remains particularly stubborn on issues of work. Women do more unpaid household work than men, and get paid less when they do work in the formal economy alongside men. This year’s theme, #PledgeForParity, encourages individuals and organizations to sign a “parity pledge” to commit to promoting gender equality in daily life and in the workplace.
Hey I’m a woman! I’m all for equality!
Gender parity is quite broad and it appears that it can be achieved in many ways. Whether it’s to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, a call for gender-balanced leadership, more respect and value for differences, development of more inclusive and flexible cultures or to expose workplace bias. IWD encourages each of us to be a leader within our own spheres of influence and to commit to take pragmatic action to help include and advance women. It is their belief that together, we can accelerate the clock.
This is an action oriented day. They don’t just want you to recognize a problem and tell people about it. They want you to do something about it. Can you? Will you? If so, click the link and take the pledge yourself. I also encourage you to check out the IWD website. They have posted some great ideas on how each of us can help further the cause of women’s parity and make this a better place for ourselves and our daughters, nieces, etc.