International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day that celebrates women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The day is a call to action for acceleration of the equality of women. Commemoration of the day began over a century ago; it’s first gathering received support from more than a million people. Today, International Women’s Day is collectively celebrated by all groups around the world. The day is not country, group or organization specific. All it does is embrace equity.
IWD is focused on achievement of some missions which include building massive awareness concerning issues that impact women’s equality; calling out inequality amidst working to forge positive action; making visible and applauding instances of important gains that are made; and celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of women. It is believed that IWD is made impactful by collective action and shared ownership to pursue gender parity as groups gather from around the world to rally for equality of women.
Collective activism drives the change for equality.
The global day is marked annually on March 8 and is considered a significant day for the celebration of women’s achievements; fundraising for female-focused charities; education for women’s equality; lobby for advanced gender parity and many more. IWD 2023 global campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity. The aim of the campaign is to encourage necessary conversations on ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough and Why equal isn’t always fair’. Genuine inclusion requires equitable action because people come from different places.
This year’s campaign theme encourages everybody to challenge gender stereotypes, educate on bias, call out discrimination and seek out inclusion. Change is driven by collective activism. Everyone can embrace equity from the grassroots action to wide-scale momentum. Genuine embrace of equity means to truly value, believe and seek out difference as a vital and necessary element of life. To embrace equity also refers to understanding the journey that is needed for achievement of the equality of women.
UN affirmed the principle of equality between women and men in 1945.
In history, the first Women’s Day was founded on February 28, 1999, in the United States in a law that was created to honor the garment workers’ strike of 1908 by women who protested against the unconducive working conditions. Another history states that in 1917, Russian women resorted to protest and strike on the last Sunday of February under the motto of bread and peace. Also, in 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was released for the first time, affirming the principle of equality between women and men. This was regarded as the first international agreement and the foundation of IWD.
According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the 2023 theme for IWD “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” reveals the role of innovative technology in promotion of gender equality and attention to the health and developmental needs to women and girls. Innovation has boosted access to quality health care services and the health sector has seen and affirmed that women can be innovators and contributors to transformation of the health of everyone in the continent.
There is a need for policies that ensure safety of women and girls.
With the 2021 report by the Association of Mobile Operators, meaningful connectivity for women and girls is majorly hindered by inadequate infrastructure, gender-related barriers concerning access and control of resources and lack of digital skills for the internet and ICTS. However, the challenges can be addressed through creation of awareness about the digital gender divide; advocating for policies and legal frameworks that ensure the safety of women and girls; and promotion of women’s participation in science, ICTS and technology.
International Women’s Day: Website