Today is International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continue's to grow from strength to strength.
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements.
Lindsey Hall, CEO of RIO "What does International Women’s Day mean to you? For me, it’s about remembering my grandmother, a suffragette who fought for the right to vote I take for granted. I remember my mother, the first person in our family to go to university, who later became a headteacher and championed both her daughters, when we followed our grandmother and took to the streets for our political beliefs. I think about my many brilliant women friends and all they have achieved. And most of all I worry about my daughter’s future and the battles she still has to fight. I will be wearing red in support of women around the world and #DayWithoutAWoman. Women’s rights are human rights – together we are strong."
So make a difference, think globally and act locally! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.