International Women’s Day: Steps in the Right Direction

Happy International Women’s Day! Well now ladies, it’s our time, shall we?

By

Peace Ahiakwo

Date Published

March 8, 2022

Category

Uncategorized

How it all began…

Before raving on about the importance of this day and where we all stand on our fight for gender equality, let’s go back in time. The early 1800s were characterized by the generic belief that women were unintelligent and feeble and as such, inferior to men. Those in the working environment were paid less but had more working hours, others were not allowed to pursue higher levels of education, especially in science, and the majority did not have the right to vote.

In many developing countries, issues on gender equality started at tender ages. Cases of child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse, bias towards women in politics and science, and many other horrific occurrences, were rampant.

All of these and more brought about an uproar by women around the world and by the turn of the 19th century, a worldwide awareness of all of these issues confronting women around the world began. Subsequently, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on the 8th of March in 1975. The day is now observed across most of the world and, in 27 countries, it is marked as an official holiday.

Now International Women’s Day is a celebration that is carried out on the 8th of March every single year! The main idea behind this is to celebrate women, raise awareness on gender equality, and of course, put an end to discriminatory attitudes towards women.

Where we are now...

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias, which asks us to envision “a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination”. Currently, there has been much progress in the tussle for equality around the world. Women are now excelling in different career paths and leadership roles.

Most importantly, there is significant reduction in gender discrimination, promotion and awareness of gender equality, and definitely, the empowerment of women worldwide. Millions openly celebrate strong and daring women who have paved ways for themselves and the generations to come in different fields of human endeavor.

Names such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Adrienne Rich, Racheal Portman, Mary Jackson, and so many others, have now become beacons to which we all aspire to become.  

In a world that wants women to whisper, I choose to yell.”- Luvvie Ajayi

In all, progress has been made in our struggle for gender equality and breaking stereotypes.  Yet, the World Economic Forum in their 2021 Global Gender Gap Report, suggests that none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes. They went on to project that neither will many of our children. It may not be attained for almost a century. However, let us not be deterred.

I know you may be wondering how you could show your support for this celebration. Here are a few ways to engage-

· You could run a campaign.

· Report on milestone achievements carried out by women around you.

· Host an event.

· Invite a female speaker to give a talk.

· Fund-raise to a female-focused charity organization.

· Raise awareness of the various challenges women face in different aspects of life on your social media pages.

There has never been a much better time than now, there would not be a better team than we all, together.

Leaving you with words from my favorite poet Maya Angelou, “Cause I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”

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