Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of women, and also to educate and raise awareness about women’s equality, to call for positive change advancing women and to lobby for accelerated gender parity.

Did you know that IWD is an official holiday in many countries, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia?

IWD has its roots in the early years of the 20th century as women’s oppression and inequality were spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

Ties between IWD and the suffrage movement are strong. We take for granted our right to vote today, but it was a hard-fought battle.

And the battle still isn’t over.

  • In parliament, 35% of our MPs are women, even though we make up 51% of the population.
  • Of the FTSE 100, that’s the 100 top listed businesses, only 10 have women as CEOs. That’s 10 out of 100.
  • The gender pay gap in the UK stands at 7.7% for full-time employees. This means for every £1 a man earns, you’ll earn 92p.
  • There is five times more research conducted on erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men, than on premenstrual syndrome, which affects 90% of women.

And those are just a few examples of gender disparity we still see today.

According to the World Economic Forum, sadly none of us will see gender parity in our lifetime, and nor likely will many of our children. Gender parity won’t be attained for well over a century.

Gloria Steinem once explained “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.” So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women. Or, better yet, make every day International Women’s Day.


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