Every year on March 8, the world celebrates all the wonderful women who live in it. This is International Women's Day: a globally recognized day with gender equality at its core. It has been celebrated for over 100 years.
The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias, which essentially asks us to imagine "a world free of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination". This means creating a gender-balanced world where men and women have equal opportunities and are treated fairly. This day is dedicated to unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.
Companies can participate in discussions about gender equality and empower their male and female employees to continuously promote equality. For this reason, it can be helpful to mark the day at the workplace.
“Gender equality is a struggle of men, not a struggle of women.” — Freida Pinto
What is the history of International Women's Day?
The early 20th century was a time of unrest and political debate among women. They spoke louder about their oppression and began campaigning for change.
In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding higher wages and suffrage. The following year, the United States celebrated National Women's Day. The International Conference of Socialist Women, held in Copenhagen in 1910, voted for the annual establishment of International Women's Day. In 1911 it was first noted in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on March 8, 1975. Today it is celebrated in most countries of the world and is a public holiday in 27 countries.
Many organizations have decided to celebrate International Women's Day. While Google is known for changing its logo to reflect the day, toy maker Mattel introduced 17 new Barbie "role models" in 2018 to reflect real-life-inspired female figures such as female athletes.
This type of public recognition can be useful in drawing attention to global issues and encouraging action on a larger project. Small businesses can also contribute to change by celebrating International Women's Day in their workplaces.
“There will be no female leaders in the future. There will only be leaders." — Sheryl Sandberg
Why do we still celebrate International Women's Day?
Gender equality has improved significantly over the past 100 years. In 1919, a woman could not apply for a loan in her own name, could not work as a lawyer or in the public service, could not demand equal pay for doing the same work as men, and could not harass her husband. for rape. In England such things are already unimaginable. This is because we have come a long way towards gender equality and we now have anti-discrimination laws.
However, we still have a long way to go before we can demand full gender equality and parity. In the UK, men still earn an average of 9% more than women. Only 23% of global politicians are women, and only 16% of FTSE 350 directors are women. In addition, women make up 64% of the world's illiterate population.
Balancing the gender gap is expected to take another 100 years. That is why we are still celebrating International Women's Day and why it is important to continue the fight for gender equality and balance.
How can I recognize International Women's Day in my workplace?
Celebrating International Women's Day in the workplace is something your business can do to spark a conversation about gender equality.
In addition, the adoption of IWD encourages women to participate in fields and industries that are predominantly male. For example, if you're in software development and most of your workforce is male, demonstrating that you know IWD can encourage women to apply. This is important when you consider that only 15% of STEM staff in the UK are women.