March 8th marks a hundred and ten years of celebrating the social, economic, and political achievements of women from around the world. International Women’s Day belongs to all women, everywhere. This day highlights how hard women have fought and still fight for gender parity. Every year a theme to raise awareness is chosen and this year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. The narrative that women are currently treated equally in society needs to be challenged because all over the world women face inequality every day of their lives. In order to achieve equality, misconceptions regarding gender parity need to be identified and better education needs to be available.
Only six countries in the world give women the same rights to work as men and most economies only give women three-quarters of the rights they give men. In the UK the Equal Pay Act was meant to ensure equal pay but women still do not receive the same level of pay as their male colleagues. According to the ONS website, the current gender pay gap in the UK is still fifteen and a half percent, this issue needs to be challenged. One of the reasons highlighted for this pay gap is job segregation. Women are not offered specific roles as there is a misconception that men are more capable of handling certain roles, these roles are most likely to be higher paid. Studies have shown that if employment equalises, there will be a positive effect on all other areas prone to gender inequality.
Women around the world still do not have authority over their own bodies or their right to decide if they want to become a parent. 2020 saw the return of archaic abortion laws in Poland which led to huge protests in the streets. Poland already had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and as a result, it is estimated that over 200,000 women a year either have an illegal operation or travel abroad for the procedure. Globally around forty percent of pregnancies are not planned and while fifty percent do end in abortion, thirty-eight percent result in birth because women are unable to access the medical support they need. All women should have the right to choose what happens to their bodies and we should celebrate a woman’s right to choose.
This March you can join the #ChoosetoChallenge campaign and help call out gender bias and inequality. As women, we need to come together and actively challenge any bias we encounter. Education, awareness, and the celebration of women’s achievements are key ways to ensure that gender bias becomes a thing of the past. So ladies this March make an extra effort to support the women that we know, love and that inspire us every day. Become a cheerleader and roll out the fan fair for your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, let’s make sure that every woman knows her worth and never forgot the words of Queen B, “Who runs the World, Girls.” Information regarding International Woman’s Day and how to join the challenge can be found at www.internationalwomensday.com.