“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”

PHOTO By: ESCPA

International Women's Day

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."  --  Gloria Steinem

International Women’s Day has been observed in countries around the world since 1911. In some countries, like Russia, Uganda and Vietnam, International Women's Day has been declared a national holiday. In others, International Women's Day is akin to Mother's Day, with gifts and flowers given to women by the men in their lives.

A product of the growing international women's movement, it is a day when women are recognized for their achievements and the call for gender parity is amplified. After the United Nations adopted the holiday in 1975, four global United Nations women's conferences helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in political and economic arenas.

According to UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, "It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities."

UN Women has announced its theme for this year's celebration to be "Think equal, build smart, innovate for change." They will focus on "innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure."

Internationwomensday.com, which provides a central resource location, especially for those who wish to organize events to mark International Women's Day, has declared the theme for 2019 to be "Balance for Better." They maintain that gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. "From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world."

International Women's Day events will be held worldwide, including conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, corporate events, arts performances, speaking events, and online digital gatherings. Events are held by women's networks, corporations, charities, educational institutions, government bodies, political parties and others. To find an International Women's Day event near you, see internationalwomensday.com.

Gender equality is a human rights issue. Women empowerment is about giving women the power and control of their lives for their personal benefit, as well as to benefit society. While progress undoubtedly has been made as awareness of inequality has increased, there is much work to be done. According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum, it could take another 100 years before the global equality gap between men and women disappears.

Technology, innovation and changing societal norms have presented unprecedented opportunities for women. Yet statistics indicate a digital divide along gender lines. Women remain under-represented in the fields of science, technology engineering and mathematics. Barriers must continue to be dismantled so that women, who comprise fifty percent of the world's population, may influence and design the innovations that will shape our future societies.Gender equality is a global imperative that can advance a peaceful, stronger, and more sustainable world where everyone has opportunities to succeed. 

The visibility of the #MeToo Movement has highlighted the continued need for the protection of women's rights in the social sphere, as well. The call to action includes a call to justice and freedom from harassment and abuse for all women, worldwide.

Join Breaknlinks on March 8 as we heed the call for gender parity and celebrate women's achievements and a future in which opportunities for women continue to grow for the benefit of all.