The significance of International Women’s Day and its global impact

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day that has been celebrated for over a century, with roots in the labour movement dating back to 1908. The day, marked on 8 March, is intended to recognize and advocate for women’s rights, equality, and empowerment. From its origins in New York City, where 15,000 women marched for better working conditions, pay, and voting rights, to its global recognition by the United Nations, IWD has become a symbol of solidarity and progress for women around the world.

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911, with a theme of “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future.” Over the years, the day has evolved to focus on various themes, including the current UN theme of “Invest in women: Accelerate progress.” This theme highlights the importance of investing in gender equality measures to drive social and economic progress.

IWD is now celebrated in many countries as a national holiday, with events such as marches, talks, concerts, and exhibitions taking place globally. These events aim to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected. The day also provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in advancing women’s rights, while also acknowledging the challenges and obstacles that still exist.

Despite efforts to promote gender equality, the Global Gender Gap Index shows that no country has achieved full gender parity. The World Economic Forum warns that it could take more than a century to achieve gender equality globally. This underscores the ongoing need to address issues such as violence against women, lack of access to education, and barriers to equal opportunities in the workforce.

In addition to celebrating International Women’s Day, it is important to recognize the positive contributions of men in society. International Men’s Day, observed on 19 November, focuses on highlighting the value men bring to their families and communities, as well as promoting positive role models and improving gender relations.

While International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the progress made in advancing women’s rights, it also highlights the ongoing challenges faced by women around the world. From conflict zones to areas controlled by oppressive regimes, women continue to fight for their rights and face various forms of discrimination and violence. The day offers an opportunity to stand in solidarity with women everywhere and work towards a more inclusive and equal world.