Mon, Mar 08|
Wherever You Are
International Women's Day
Time & Location
Mar 08, 2021, 3:55 PM – 11:59 PM
Wherever You Are
About the Event
"What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day for us to join voices with people around the world and shout our message for equal rights loud and clear: “Women’s rights are human rights!”
We celebrate all women, in all their diversities. We embrace their facets and intersections of faith, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, or disability. We celebrate those who came before us, those who stand beside us now, and those who will come after.
It’s a time to celebrate the achievements of women, whether social, political, economic or cultural.
What is the theme for International Women’s Day in 2021?
The global theme for International Women’s Day in 2021 is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. COVID-19 has impacted women and girls in profound ways, amplifying the inequalities they face every day. It is fundamental that diverse women’s voices and experiences are central to national and global recovery plans.
A key contributor to a more equal COVID-19 world is increasing women’s access to leadership roles. Unfortunately, women still face significant cultural, socio-economic and political barriers to accessing leadership. You can read more about this in our research Women’s’ Pathways to Leadership: Our Pathways, Our Voice, which investigates how and why women become leaders, and the gendered barriers they face along the way.
The history of International Women’s Day
In 1908, against a backdrop of terrible working conditions and exploitation, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York protesting for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
The next year the Socialist Party of America announced a National Women’s Day to honour the strikers, and in 1910 it went global – the Socialist International voted for the creation of a Women’s Day to advocate for suffrage. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, and more than a million people turned out to rallies in Europe.
For most of the 20th century International Women’s Day was acknowledged and celebrated by people at the grassroots level, a rallying point for social justice. It wasn’t until 1975 – International Women’s Year – that the United Nations adopted International Women’s Day on 8 March, when it is still held.
Why does International Women’s Day matter?
Because we’re not there yet.
IWD is a day to recognise how far we’ve come towards gender equality, and also how far we have left to go. Back in 1911, only eight countries allowed women to vote, equal pay for equal work was unheard of – if women were allowed to work at all – and reproductive rights were non-existent.
We have come a long way. Whereas once women couldn’t vote, we’re now leading countries. While we once faced restrictions on where we worked, we’re now running corporations. In countries such as Australia we have rights our grandmothers could only have dreamed about, but we still don’t have complete equality. And the majority of the world’s women aren’t anywhere near as close to that goal as we are.
More than 100 years ago, that first march was about ending harmful workplace conditions, equal rights, equal pay, and an end to exploitation. And sadly, those aims are still relevant today.
Because the rights we have are not secure.
Progress should be linear, but it’s too often accompanied by a step back. Sometimes, even once laws and rights are established, they are ignored anyway. For example:
Despite domestic violence laws, public awareness and access to legal protections, Australian men are still killing women partners or exes at the rate of one a week.
Reproductive rights are a political football. Here in Australia access varies by state, and in some parts of the United States laws have passed making terminations inaccessible, no matter the reason behind the woman’s decision.
Climate change is increasing violence against women and girls, according to a major report in 2020. Case studies included domestic abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault, and violence against women environmental rights defenders.
IWD is a once-a-year chance to remind governments, businesses and everyone else watching that women aren’t going anywhere, and we’re prepared to take action to achieve our human rights.
Because progress hasn’t been equal.
Some women feel they have not encountered discrimination or harassment, or faced systemic barriers to their success, but that’s not the experience of all women. IWD is an opportunity to acknowledge the compounded challenges faced by women of colour, women with disabilities, and queer or trans women, and stand in partnership with them.
It’s also a show of solidarity with our sisters living in countries who may not be able to march out of fear for their safety.
On International Women’s Day we remember that as long as one woman faces discrimination, harassment, inequality or oppression, we all do.
Because sometimes we need to remember we’re not alone.
Between personal experience and public headlines it can feel like we’re not getting any closer to gender equality, or that it’s too overwhelming (and exhausting) to keep challenging social norms. Maybe we’re just tired of fighting the same fight. IWD is a great way to get re-inspired or re-energised, or to remind ourselves there are millions of women out there standing with us, and we’re all facing – and winning – the same battles."
-Quoted from the International Women's Development Agency. For more information, please visit https://iwda.org.au/take-action/international-womens-day/