Let’s talk about the importance of this day.
Although it is 2016, we are still far away from gender equality considering the widening gender wage gap, prevalence of gender-based violence, cultural expectations that women should are responsible for childcare and housework, and objectification of women in the media—we can conclude that modern day sexism is alive and thriving.
Which makes a day to emphasize the struggles women face necessary.
International Women’s Day—which has been observed since the 1990s— is not only a means to shed light on these issues, but also a call to action to create change.
One of the main calls for action on this day is closing the pay gap. Despite the passage of legislation in Britain like the Equal Pay Act in 1970 to resolve the fact that women were paid 50% less than men—such issues haven’t been resolved. The primary focus of International Women’s Day 2016 is the wage gap because women still make 20% less than men—and that’s a problem.
Furthermore, the wage gap also has economic consequences. According to The World Economic Forum, “Ten years of measuring the global gender gap has helped us understand how lack of progress is damaging to global economic growth, and given us insights into how practical measures can support growth and improve the quality of life for women worldwide.”
From this, we can conclude that striving for gender equality has political, personal, and personal benefits that each country should work towards. Unfortunately, we are still a century if not longer away from closing this disparity.
The World Economic Forum estimates that closing the gap will take until 2133—or longer.
And did you know that according to a report by the American Association of University Women, women working full time in the United States in 2014 were typically paid just 79 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 21 percent?
See why we need International Women’s Day?
Which is why this year—in order to start a dialogue on these issues and spread the word worldwide—IWD is pushing for supporters to use the hashtag #pledgeforparity.
This hashtag and the act of pledging will be used as a way to hold men, women, and companies accountable for creating concrete plans to close this gap—awareness is key. We also need work on breaking down cultural attitudes about gender, and equality.
We don’t just need to enforce policy and legislation, we need to also look at underlying social attitudes we might still implicitly hold about women.
IWD also provides space to consider often avoided questions like: why is it that women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of workers in STEM fields?
Or what can we do about the fact that more than a third of all women worldwide – 35.6% – will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, usually from a male partner?
Clearly, we’re far from equality and there’s still much work to do to.
That’s why we need to have these conversations. That’s why we need to take collective action.
The value of IWD is that it facilitates community-based feminist action that brings women together to fight for radical change.
Want to take some action? Click here! Want to attend some cool events today? Find some near you here. If you’re an IC student, find out how you can get involved with our #IWDatIC social media campaign here!
Have a great day! Go dismantle some patriarchy for me!