Here’s a look at what the worldwide celebration of women’s rights means, the subject for this year, and the issues that activists are emphasizing as International Women’s Day approaches on Wednesday (today).
A law to increase the representation of women in business and politics was launched in Spain on Tuesday. Among its suggested requirements is that women hold at least 40% of the seats on the boards of directors of major corporations.
What Is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a yearly celebration of women’s accomplishments and a movement to advance their rights.
It has roots in the early 20th-century labor and socialist movements in the United States, notably when women were battling for the right to vote and better working conditions.
Around a million people demonstrated in support of women’s rights in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, marking the inaugural commemoration.
The event has expanded since then in terms of both size and scope. The range of topics being addressed now includes anything from workplace parity to violence against women.
While no single entity has ownership of the day, the United Nations is often at the center of celebrations when it officially recognized IWD in 1977.
Although certain nations, such as China, Russia, and Uganda, acknowledge IWD as a public holiday, worldwide festivities are typically decentralized.
This Year’s International Women’s Day Theme
The U.N.’s theme this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” The subject shows how important technology is to promoting rights, yet a widening gender disparity in the digital sphere is having an influence on everything from women’s employment prospects to online safety.
The United Nations reports that 259 million fewer women than males have access to the internet, and that women are significantly underrepresented in occupations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality,” says the U.N.’s website. “Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs.”
Prior United Nations themes have included HIV/AIDS, rural women, and climate change.
Why Is International Women’s Day Important?
The U.N.’s theme this year emphasizes how the struggle for gender equality has changed in the twenty-first century, while events all over the world also highlight persistent problems like poverty and violence.
World Health Organization research in 2021 revealed that approximately one in three women globally is subjected to physical or sexual abuse during her lifetime, an issue that relates along with women’s economic possibilities, access to sex education and reproductive rights.
While the early movement was mainly concentrated on cisgender white women fighting for voting rights, there has also been a drive to make IWD more inclusive of racialized women as well as of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons.
While IWD is an opportunity to highlight rights disparities, organizers often use the day to recognize advancement and the successes of an individual women.
To read our blog on “Sindh Govt. plans to launch Pink Taxis exclusively for women,” click here.