International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality across the world.
This day has been observed since in the early 1900s, which was a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
"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," says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Therefore, International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action!
This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange, which area will you take bold action in? To take the pledge, click here and join women across the world through the ten International Women's Day values – justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy and forgiveness.
As modern day Suffragettes, both female and male, let us continue the work and spirit of the almighty Suffragettes, fighting the good fight. And let us recognize, honor and celebrate the important and impressive achievements of women globally.
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 sad 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 and are still being made. We have female astronauts and prime ministers, schoolgirls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, and women have real choices. Each year the world inspires women and celebrates all their achievements.
Did you know that International Women’s Day 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. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues and other women in their lives with flowers and small gifts. In many countries this holiday is similar to Mother's Day where children give tokens of affection to their mothers and grandmothers.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally and make everyday International Women's Day! Do your part to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
All photos are courtesy of International Women’s Day.