I’m posting this blog on Monday, February 28. Tomorrow, March 1, is Mardi Gras. Next Tuesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day. I mention this because the words Mardi Gras are instantly recognized as an amazing festival with parades, parties, and raucous behavior.
But the words International Women’s Day exist in a sort of limbo, usually as something that is part of Women’s History Month. In fact, International Women’s Day was first discussed at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference — hardly a mainstream event. In 1917, the new Soviet Union made the day a public holiday. These two associations convinced much of the western world that International Women’s Day was something unsavory.
The United Nations Recognizes International Women’s Day in 1977
The United Nations brought International Women’s Day into the mainstream as a day when the world should celebrate and recognize women’s accomplishments while making a commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women in four specific areas:
- Women should lead, participate in, and benefit equally from all systems of government.
- Women should have income security, decent work opportunities, and economic autonomy.
- Women and girls should live a life free from violence.
- Women and girls should participate in building sustainable peace initiatives, and benefit equally from the prevention of conflicts and humanitarian action.
Statista’s 2021 Statistics on the Global Status of Women indicates that meeting those goals has a long way to go. Their report on the Global Gender Pay Gap shows that
- A woman earns $0.82 US dollars for every dollar earned by a man
- The highest gender pay gap among OCED countries is Korea at 32.5 per cent and Japan at 23.5 percent.
- Western Europe has the smallest gender pay gap at 77.6 per cent. If the situation improves at its current rate, it will take 52 years for Western Europe to reach gender pay parity.
In the area of Education, the global female adult literacy rate is 83 per cent, and the global female youth literacy rate is 90.5 per cent. This is an exciting development, because education has the greatest impact on women’s economic and employment opportunities.
The 2022 United Nations Theme for International Women’s Day is Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. The UN focus is on issues relating to climate change.
The International Women’s Day Website reduces the verbiage with a simple campaign theme: #BreakTheBias.
Working together, people can imagine a gender equal world where difference is valued and celebrated.
The #BreakThe Bias image is an individual’s arms crossed at the wrist as a symbol of the participant’s commitment to call out bias, smash stereotypes, break through inequality, and reject discrimination.
On Tuesday, March 8 celebrate International Women’s Day with a commitment to #BreakTheBias. Small actions can change attitudes for the better and contribute to a healthier and happier world for everyone.
🏄♀️ 🧘🏻♀️ 🤼♀️ 🤸🏻♀️ 🤾🏻♀️ 🚵♀️
International Women’s Day in Honiara, Solomon Islands 2011. By Dept. of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
“My Favorite Season is the Fall of Patriarchy,” International Women’s Day March, Brussels 2020. by Bartosz Brzezinski.
International Women’s Day Brand Kit. United Nations.
Pankhurst Trust Ambassador for International Women’s Day 2022. Break The Bias. Carol Ann Whitehead. By WikiZebraCarol.
Simon Varrella. Global Status of Women. Statista. Nov. 11, 2021.
Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.