International Women’s Day: History, unity and gender equality

International Women's DayKatherine Pecora, Staff Writer

 

On March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day. This annually observed holiday marks women’s achievements and struggles throughout history. International Women’s Day particularly aims to celebrate the economic, cultural, political, and social achievements women have made in the last century. The early 20th century was a time in which women became more active in the political and public spheres. According to the official International Women’s Day website, “during the International Conference of Working Women in 1910, Clara Zetkin of Germany’s Social Democratic Party proposed that a day be set aside every year across the world to celebrate women and reinforce their demands. The proposal was ultimately accepted and put into practice, starting in Germany and Europe and spreading across the globe over the years.”

This year’s theme was #BalanceforBetter. This theme was meant to promote a future in which equality is achieved across the basis of gender, and looks at equality in a variety of different ways. For example, media representation, positions held in business, and positions held in government. The idea is for men to support their female coworkers and women to encourage each other to consider joining predominantly male fields, such as STEM fields. Everyone has a part in promoting equality. The value of International Women’s Day has been highlighted through women’s issues and their voices. The ideas surround representation in academia, media, literature, and just about every other part of society. On International Women’s Day this year, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team announced their lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay. Many notable members of the team made public comments, or posted on social media highlighting the alleged inequality in soccer in the U.S.

When women succeed at higher levels, it translates to higher levels of success for all. In practical application, this has not held up in our world. According to CBS: 47 percent of the U.S. workforce is made up of women, and 1 in 6 women are active duty members in the U.S. military. Additionally, 9.7 percent of U.S. heterosexual couples were in a situation where the wife earned at least $30,000 more than their husband.

Every country has its own unique ways of celebrating this day. Social media has become a necessary vehicle for inspiring change within younger generations. Since the inception of this day in 1910, women have come a long way. But, this does not mean that we have achieved perfect equality in 2019. Lower proportions of women hold government positions, and their opportunity for education is stifled due to their gender. Strides have been made, but we are far from equality. The beauty of International Women’s Day is that it spreads awareness about the specific issues that women face, and it addresses how men can aid in supporting women and understanding how women’s success benefits them quite a lot.

 

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