International Women’s Day: Embrace Equity Every Step of the Way
Imagine a world that is free of bias and stereotypes. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. International Women’s Day is a global celebration that strives to make such a world our reality. A society that is powered by gender equity is bound to have a transformative impact on women across the world. To raise awareness about women’s equality and celebrate their achievements, all of March is marked as Women’s History Month, and March 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day each year.
The significance of this day is not limited to a specific country, group, or organization. On the contrary, the aim of celebrating International Women’s Day is to unite women all over the world, from all walks of life, to celebrate their achievements and accelerate actions towards gender parity.
In this blog, we take you through the history of International Women’s Day, the theme for 2023, and why this global celebration plays an important role in the pursuit of equal rights.
When is International Women’s Day Celebrated?
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th globally every year. This day is generally marked by events, activities, rallies, and marches that support women’s rights and highlight gender equality. For example, in Russia it is declared a national holiday; in China, women are given half-day off work whereas in Italy women are given small yellow mimosa blooms that symbolize female strength.
In India and the United States, International Women’s Day celebrations are marked by rallies, marches, and conferences that attract experts, activists, and policymakers who educate the masses on topics such as how to advocate for women’s rights, the current challenges that are underway and the importance of embracing equity as a society.
As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at a brief history behind this day, who founded it and how it was initiated.
International Women’s Day 2023: History
The advent of this global celebration has its roots in the 20th century and first began when political activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1869 to advocate for women’s rights. In the early 1900s, women did not have voting rights; they experienced pay inequality and extremely long working hours. In response to this, in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to fight for their rights. A year later, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Women’s Day.
The idea of celebrating this day internationally was first suggested at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, an activist and advocate for women’s rights. There were 100 women from over 17 countries at the conference, who unanimously agreed to her suggestion. In 1911, celebrations began across Denmark, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, with over one million people attending rallies. The 1960s were marked by the women’s liberation movement in the United States which eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act – giving all women the right to vote. Finally, in 1975 the United Nations officially announced that March 8 was to be celebrated as International Women’s Day across the world.
International Women’s Day 2023: Significance
The entire conception of International Women’s Day is based on forging women’s empowerment worldwide. Over the years, this day has become a platform to call attention to issues like lack of access to education, unequal pay, harassment at the workplace, underrepresentation in leadership roles, and so on. Through persistent advocacy and activism, we have progressed to a much better space today in terms of protecting women from discrimination and harassment in the workplace, providing access to education, having the right to vote, etc. However, there are still significant barriers that need to be tackled for creating a world that is inclusive and equitable.
2023’s International Women’s Day campaign #EmbraceEquity emphasizes the fact that equal opportunities alone are simply not enough. To begin with, it is critical to understand why gender equity should be a part of every society’s DNA in the first place. There is a need for true inclusion as people come from different backgrounds and may not have the same start as others. But how do we seek out inclusion in our own sphere of influence? Calling out discrimination, challenging gender stereotypes, and drawing attention to bias might be a good place to start.
International Women’s Day 2023: Theme
According to the United Nations sixty-seventh Commission on the Status of Women, the theme for this year is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality’. It aims to highlight the persistent gender gap and underrepresentation of women in STEM education and technology careers. As per reports on Zippia, the ratio of men to women in the tech industry is currently at 3:1. In India, only 14% of the STEM workforce is female, as compared to the world average of 28.8%. This clearly reflects the severe lack of diversity and opportunities for women in the tech industry. Lack of equal employment opportunities coupled with the threat of gender-based violence can force women to forgo well-earned positions in the digital space.
Today, digital technology is opening new doors to empower girls, women, and other marginalized groups on a global scale. It brings unprecedented opportunities to eliminate any form of inequality or disparity. Based on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, the mission is to elevate gender parity in technology and celebrate the women who are driving innovation in the field. It encourages individuals, governments, activists, and organizations to power through their efforts in making the digital space more safe, equitable, and inclusive.
Shaping a society that embraces gender equity isn’t just limited to women fighting the good fight. Allies play an equally important role in the social, cultural, economic, and political advancement of women. In today’s digital age, there are so many ways to get involved in International Women’s Day celebrations and show your support in creating a society that is free of bias. Together, we must challenge stereotypes and embrace equity to shape a diverse and inclusive society.
International Women’s Day 2023: FAQs
1. What is the theme for International Women’s Day 2023?
This year, the United Nations has declared ‘DigitALL – Innovation and technology for gender equality’ as the theme for International Women’s Day. It highlights the importance of access to education for girls in the digital age and how we can bring about gender parity in our society today
2. What is the color of International Women’s Day 2023?
Purple, white, and green are the colors of International Women’s Day. Purple stands for justice and dignity. White symbolizes purity and green represents hope. Purple and green represent the feminist movement.
3. Can men celebrate International Women’s Day too?
Absolutely! It is a global celebration for everyone irrespective of their gender or gender identity. It marks the progress that women have made so far toward equality and how much more is yet to be done. Feminism isn’t just about empowering women, it is also about breaking damaging gender stereotypes. This is why gender equality should be as important for men as it is for women.