In hope of a better life, a better future, and a better society, women throughout history have organized and led several actions against gender inequality and injustice. Through widely-remembered actions, such as the suffrage movement, and through countless more minor acts that did not make the history books, women have always strived to bring about gender equality.
In the process, one of these acts led to the formation of a symbolic day, a day when women across the globe unite in dreams and actions, and this day came to be known as “International Women’s Day”. International Women’s Day continues to be a platform that promotes gender equality as well as one that celebrates the economic, social, and professional accomplishments of women.
However, while this day is filled with positive and empowering messages, the inequalities that instigated the need for a “women’s day” in the first place should not be forgotten. According to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap index report, the average global gender gap is still a staggering 32%, a huge indicator that even though great strides were made through the years of struggle, the fight has a long way to go. Be it direct biases or subtle ones, women still face immense barriers in education, political participation, and in the worst cases, in basic human rights.
It should be understood that gender equality is central to the growth of societies and economies as a whole. This should come as no surprise, as it is obvious that the development and proper utilization of half the world’s population have an enormous effect on the growth and sustainability of economies worldwide. As a matter of fact, global data shows that the countries with the best gender equality also score the highest on the happiness scale. Moreover, studies by Catalyst have shown conclusively that the more gender equal an office is, the better it is for workers and the happier the labor force is. Additionally, job turnover rates are low while job retention, satisfaction, and productivity rates are high.
A point that might be overlooked is that gender parity cannot be achieved by the actions of women alone. The “fix the woman” mentality is old-fashioned and awfully wrong. Everyone should participate in the struggle and in more recent years, some men are being recognized as activists and supporters of change who are playing a key part in accelerating women’s fight for equality. A lot of influential CEOs and leaders have devoted their efforts to building diverse and all-fitting organizations that challenge injustice and bias.
International Women’s Day provides a useful opportunity to underline the fact that everyone has a role to play in constructing a more gender-balanced world. Presently, we are in a very exciting time in history where society now expects gender parity. At least its absence is being noticed and its presence celebrated. So, with a new decade on the horizon, global movements like #TimesUp, #MeToo, and the huge rise in International Women’s Day activity all over the world mean gender equality will grab the attention of many through the years to come.