On International Women’s Day, women across the world come together to force the world to recognize gender inequalities while also celebrating the achievements of women thus far.
It has been nearly 200 years since the Industrial Revolution pushed Western women into the workforce in large numbers and more than 150 years since women have gained access to higher education in Western countries; however, there are still many places around the world where women do not have rights to education, voting, work and more.
You may have seen Google’s doodle entitled #OneDayIWill, which focuses on women from 13 different cities around the world completing the sentence “one day I will…” This diverse, global mosaic of women and their varying personalities, aspirations, and ethnicities shares one goal; to accelerate women in the pursuit of gender parity.
Some faces in the video may look more familiar than others. Dame Jane Goodall, one of the world’s leading experts on chimpanzees, shares her hope to one day discuss the environment with the Pope, while Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize, and activist Muzoon Almellehan will continue to work towards a future where every girl can go to school.
Women account for half of the global labor supply and nearly 70% of global consumption demand. Today, women tend to lag behind men by 15-25% in economic participation and opportunity; however, statistics show that more working women results in faster economic growth. Additionally, increasing women’s education contributes to higher economic growth.
It is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 percent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion. – ActionAid, 2015, “Close the Gap! The cost of inequality in women’s work
What is International Women’s Day?
Originally names International Working Women’s Day, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year as a global day acknowledging the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also serves as a call to action for pushing gender parity.
Gender Parity: Economic participation and advancement for women.
The World Economic Forum in its Global Gender Gap Report 2014 estimates it will take 80 more years until companies and governments are equally led by men and women, allowing us to close the economic gender gap. This would put us as 2095 before we saw a global balance. Can businesses and economies around the world afford to wait another 80 years to fully engage the talent of women? Accelerating gender parity will bring men and women leaders together globally to create a gender-balanced workforce will deliver better outcomes and prosperity in the global workplace.
“The most important determinant of a country’s competitiveness is its human talent — the skills and productivity of its workforce.” -The World Economic Forum
2016 International Women’s Day Theme
International Women’s Day theme this year is “Planet 50-50 by 2030” an agenda for sustainable development. This includes 17 new Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets that aim to end poverty, combat inequalities and promote prosperity while protecting the environment by 2030. In order for these goals to be reached, everyone has to do their part including governments, the private sector, civil society, and people like you.
Here is how you can take action from your couch, home, and community today!
When was International Women’s Day Created?
International Women’s Day (IWD) was not only inspired by women around the world but also the acts of women on two different occasions in the U.S. In 1857, garment workers in New York marched and picketed for improved working conditions, hours and equal rights. Their march was shut down by the police. A second incident occurred in New York in 1908 when 15,000 women once again marched and demanded voting rights, better pay, and shorter working hours. Once again, they were shut down by police.
German socialist and theorist Clara Zetkin shared the idea that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for gender equality. Zetkin, along with 100 delegates from 17 countries who met in 1910 at theSecond International, declared March 8th International Women’s Day to commemorate the US demonstrations and honor working women around the world. It was celebrated for the first time in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
In 2011, US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month’.
Is There an International Men’s Day?
Of course! November 19 is International Men’s Day. The focus of International Men’s Day is to focus on men’s health, promote gender equality and highlight positive male role models. November is also a chance for men to take part in the popular, annual Movember charity event.
Brief History of Women in the U.S.
1848: First women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY. This set the agenda for the women’s rights movement.
1869: The National Woman Sufferage Association and American women Sufferage Association‘s primary goal is to achieve voting rights for women through amendments to individual state constitutions. Wyoming is the first state to adopt unrestricted suffrage to women. Colorado, Utah and Idaho follow suit in 1896, Washington State in 1910, California in 1911, Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona in 1912, Alaska and Illinois in 1913, Montana and Nevada in 1914, New York in 1917; Michigan, South Dakota, and Oklahoma in 1918.
1870: The 15th amendment to the U. S. Constitution is adopted. The amendment grants suffrage to former male African-American slaves, but not to women.
1880: New York state grants school suffrage to women.
1882: The U.S. House and Senate both appoint committees on women’s suffrage, which both report favorably
1890: The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
1902: Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage.
1910: Emulating the grassroots tactics of labor activists, the Women’s Political Union organizes America’s first large-scale suffrage parade, which is held in New York City
1912: Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party includes women suffrage in its platform.
1916: Woodrow Wilson promises that the Democratic Party Platform will endorse women suffrage.
1918: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eventually granted women suffrage, passes the U.S. House with exactly a two-thirds vote but loses by two votes in the Senate. Jeannette Rankin opened debate on it in the House, and President Wilson addressed the Senate in support of it.
1919: In January, the National Women’s Party lights and guards a “Watchfire for Freedom.” It is maintained until the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes the U.S. Senate on June 4.
1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”