Research into the origins of International Women’s Day indicates the recognition began in 1911. Yes, over one hundred years ago. Key countries involved include Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The day of recognition was first tied to the suffrage movement. Now, gender equity and equal pay are key components.
A Difficult Achievement
Equity should be straight forward. But it isn’t. This concept of fairness is difficult because inherently life itself is not fair. Just by being born in Country A instead of Country B gives one an advantage. But the gap can be closed to a certain extent, if conditions allow. Unfortunately, differing cultures preclude the elimination of gender equality. A specific example would be Afghanistan. 2021 saw the return of rule by the Taliban and subsequently a reduction in rights for females.
Starting with equal pay for equal job duties may be a goal in countries where women are respected. But in the case of countries where women are not even allowed an education, striving for equal pay is meaningless. And to be honest, I have no ideas on how to change a culture of such a country. It must come from within, not imposed upon by outside forces.
Personal responsibility may seem a strange topic to discuss as part of International Women’s Day. But I think it is a key component. Respect for women begins on an individual level. Both by men and women, particularly by the former. And unfortunately, a woman can be another woman’s barrier with regards to career movement. This absolutely needs to stop.
Equality is not an exact measurement. Partnerships (including marriages) work best when the partners are on equal footing. This does not mean identical input. Instead, gender equality relies on a recognition of the important contributions of women and girls. Their empowerment is vital to sustainability. Respect for women’s inputs and outputs is necessary on key issues today. Such issues as climate vitality, education, corruption and violence need women’s voices.
International Women’s Day 2022
Continued gains in gender equality will take more than a single day. However the importance of International Women’s Day is not insignificant. The celebration serves as a reminder. Women deserve respect. And equal opportunities.
The recognition on March 8th, 2022 is symbolic. And meaningful. Worldwide, we have yet to reach the day when a child’s birth is celebrated the same regardless of gender. Furthermore, we still classify careers as traditional for women. Or categorize them as non-traditional. Gender equality is attainable, but there is still work to be down. So, remember to recognize the important women in your life today.