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International Women’s Day

Day: International Women’s Day

Date: 8th March



International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s achievements, and to fight for equality between genders.* It began in New York in 1909, as a memorial to the previous year’s strike of the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union, and has been held on the 8th since 1914. The UN General Assembly invited member states to hold the day in 1975, as the official day for women’s rights and world peace.

Throughout history, International Women’s Day has served as a time for marches and protests for peace and equality. Some regions have dropped the political stance, and treat the day as a hybrid between Mother’s and Valentine’s Day, celebrating general love for women.

With the World Economic Forum predicting the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186, however, Women’s Day may need to be political for a while longer.

This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange (last year’s was #PledgeForParity). The founders of International Women’s Day explain the theme as:

“Each one of us — with women, men and non-binary people joining forces — can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”

They suggests that on International Women’s Day we:

· challenge bias and inequality

· campaign against violence

· forge women’s advancement

· celebrate women’s achievement

· champion women’s education

* Since it is, according to Google, most often searched for in March (thanks, guys), thought we should say that there is an International Men’s Day, on the 19th of November.

Facts and Stats:

1 in 3 women experience sexual or domestic violence at some point in their lives: according to a U.N. report, “women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria.” This is happening all over the world - approximately 44 % of UK women have experienced either physical or sexual violence since they were 15-years-old.

15 million girls under the age of 18 get married every year:

Many of these are child brides. Marriage before 18 puts girls at a higher risk of contracting HIV or other STDs, experiencing domestic violence, and dying in childbirth. When girls have secondary schooling, however, they become 6 times less likely to marry as children than those with little or no education. Countries that invest in girls’ education have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS, and better child nutrition.

Around the world, women are paid less than men, in most countries earning on average 60-75% of men’s wages. In the UK, the gender gap stands at 17.5%, with women on average earning £5,000 less a year than their male counterparts. The gender gap covers not only salary, but ability to progress in careers: globally only 24% of senior management roles are now filled by women, and women currently hold only 4.8% of the CEO Positions at S&P 500 Companies.The Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates it will take 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of female and male directors of FTSE 100 companies.

Governments that involve women are more open, democratic and responsive to citizens than those without, and when women are involved in peace agreements, the probability of lasting two years increases by 20%, and increases the chance of peace lasting 15 years by 35% (according to UN Women). This means that an increase in powerful roles for women benefits nations as a whole.

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