International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate female achievements socially, political and economically but also be a day where we reflect on the challenges that are still to be overcome on the path to equality.
This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. By embracing equity, we must introduce measures that help to counteract the historic and social disadvantages that have prevented women from enjoying true equality.
In this blog, we look at International Women’s Day, from its origins to the importance of achieving greater gender equality.
We also hear from members of our team on what IWD means to them and why it’s such a significant day.
History of International Women’s Day
It’s widely recognised that the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28th1909, to honour the garment workers’ strike that had taken place a year earlier in New York.
It served as an inspiration for a celebration of women, but the observance was initially only confined to the United States.
In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German socialist and feminist, proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen.
The proposal was unanimously approved by the conference, and IWD was first celebrated on March 19th, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with rallies and demonstrations demanding women’s rights to work and vote.
During the First World War, the observance became a vehicle for protesting the war and advocating for peace. Amid the conflict, women in Russia celebrated IWD in 1917 on March 8th and this later became the official date for the global observance of the event.
The United Nations officially recognised International Women’s Day in 1975, and since then, it has been observed globally.
Rallies, marches, conferences, and cultural events have been held each year to raise awareness about gender inequality, advocate for women’s rights, and celebrate women’s achievements.
Why we should #EmbraceEquity
As alluded to earlier in the blog, this year’s theme is an important one. But what does it mean to embrace equity?
While both concepts are important goals in achieving a more inclusive society, equity and equality differ slightly. Gender equality aims to ensure that everyone, regardless of their gender, has the same rights, opportunities, and access to resources.
Gender equity, meanwhile, recognises that some groups may require additional support and resources in order to achieve true equality.
For example, if a cycling race was equality-based, every competitor would be given the same bike to use regardless of their height or weight. However, if it was equity-based competitors would be able to use bikes that were suited to their individual needs, so that the race would be truly fair.
Ultimately, by striving for greater equity in society, true equality becomes more accessible.
What International Women’s Day means to our team
Chloe, production technician: “This day is so important to me, and I hope it inspires other female workers to develop the same self-belief that was instilled in me growing up.
“I also hope IWD can help to change perspectives.
“Women are just as capable as men and bring so much value to businesses and I just hope today can demonstrate this.”
Tap, production technician: “I’m proud to be able to celebrate women, today.
“I think it’s important for the world to see what we’re capable of and what we’re achieving in the workplace.”
Sam, key account manager: “International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the strength and determination us women have and how far we’ve come in our fight for equality in every aspect of life. So it means a lot.
“I believe regardless of gender we’re all capable of achieving anything we desire and as a mother of a little girl, I’ll always make sure she knows this.”
Anna, PA and administrator: “8th March isn’t the only day we should be thinking about women and their role in the modern world.
“Awareness days like International Women’s Day, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and World Rural Women’s Day show how critical it is that we speak out about women’s rights and welfare as much as possible.”
Jacqui, general manager: “For me it’s a day, to celebrate the progression towards equality and the achievements of women in business.
“Although there have been huge improvements, there is still work to be done when it comes to equality, especially in certain industries, but I think IWD goes a long way in helping with this and getting the message out there.
“I firmly believe that we can do anything we set our minds to, and nobody should ever hold us back on anything, just because of gender.”
Happy International Women’s Day! If you’d like to get in touch with any of the team, click here.