International Women's Day, marked yearly on the 8th of March, is a day for the recognition and celebration of women all over the world for their roles, past and present be they social, economic, cultural or political. It is a day for advocating for equal opportunities for all women and men everywhere.
Last year, the day was marked with the 'Pledge for Parity Campaign'. Organizations and individuals around the world committed to:
1. "help women and girls achieve their ambitions,"
2. "challenge conscious and unconscious bias,"
3. "call for gender-balanced leadership,"
4. "value women and men's contributions equally,"
5. "create inclusive, flexible cultures,"
In spite of this, the World Economic Forum’s prediction for closure of the gender gap ironically moved forward from the year 2133 to the year 2186. It would seem that the gender gap will take longer than expected to close and will in fact take about five generations to close entirely! It is encouraging to note that the United Nations has higlihted the importance of this goal by making it one of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
This year, we are drawing on two themes for the International Women’s Day: “Be Bold for Change” sponsored by Ernst and Young and “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” by the United Nations. Both themes underscore the importance of change in our work ethics and in the way we do business as a whole. Bold and determined change in scaling up actions in support of women's needs and rights are urgently required.
It is shocking to note that on the first of March 2017 Polish MEP Korwin-Mikke stated during a debate on gender pay gap that “of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller and they are less intelligent, they must earn less, that‘s all.” Statements like this, made in the open, by supposedly learned people serve to emphasize the urgency of the need to act to bridge the gender gap. 2186 is simply too far away. 169 years is a very long time for women all over the world to be deprived of equal opportunities with their male counterparts - to be told that they have to work extra hard to equal the average male -, that they are weaker or smaller or less intelligent - that there are certain roles they cannot assume—in sports, politics, entrepreneurship, at home—because they are female!
One of the greatest challenges for women's rights is the assumption that it is an affair of women, for women and by women. The famous Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie, in one of her most popular statements says “We should all be feminists.” The fight for gender equality is an affair of all, for all and by all. We cannot succeed as a developed world if half of us are held back.
C4C is particularly concerned about the needs of young women everywhere. They are often the most disadvantaged. Special efforts need to be made to provide them with the support and mentorship they need to fully achieve their God given potentials. Everyone has a role to play to make gender equality a reality in the soonest possible future. The big question is how will you be bold for change today and beyond?
1. “challenge bias and inequality?”
2. “campaign against violence?”
3. “forge women's advancement?”
4. “celebrate women's achievement?”
5. “champion women's education?”
Happy International Womens' Day