The International Women’s Day message 2020, and how to support it

For well over a century, communities, organisations and individuals have been celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD).

IWD takes place on the 8th March. According to the International Women’s Day site, it’s purpose is “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

The first International Women’s Day happened in 1911 and saw over one million people rally together for women’s rights.

This followed a period in the early 1900s in which the Suffragettes fought for women’s right to vote. Today, IWC is celebrated by millions all over the world driving action for gender equality. 

#EachforEqual campaign message 

This year, the IWD campaign theme is #EachforEqual. It seeks to empower each and every individual to “challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.”

The idea is that together, we can help create a gender equal world. This is because the actions, thoughts and voices of each person can have a huge impact on the way society operates as whole – so sharing responsibility is the key.

Have we got far to go?

The Global Gender Gap Report 2020, published by the World Economic Forum, states that “none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children” as it “will not be attained for 99.5 years.”

The report looks at 153 countries’ progress towards gender equality in four key areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. 

The report shows that overall, the gender parity goal has improved in the last two years, reducing from 108 years in 2018 to 99.5 years in 2020. Of all countries ranked by gender parity, Iceland achieves the top spot for the 11thyear in a row, closely followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Over two thirds of ranked countries have improved their score since last year, of which the most increased include Albania, Ethiopia and Spain. Globally, gender parity currently sits at 68.6%, so there is still a way to go. 

More specifically,35 countries have successfully achieved gender parity in education, while 48 have obtained ‘near-parity’ in healthcare. The ‘Political Empowerment’ dimension is the worst performing, as women have obtained only 25% of available parliamentary roles across the world, which reduces to 21% in ministerial positions.

How individuals and businesses can support IWD

There are many things that individuals can do to celebrate International Women’s Day. People can share the #EachforEqual hashtag on their social media accounts, whether that’s via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other platform.

The IWC site has championed a pose in which both arms are held out at 90 degrees, one over the other, to signify the Each for Equal campaign. They encourage people to strike the post to motivate others. There are also plenty of events to attend across the country, or individuals can host their own with friends or family members. 

When it comes to business, leaders are encouraged to build an inclusive working environment, hire diversely, and of course pay equally.

In a recent blog by leading accounting and consulting company RSM, they state that tackling unconscious bias, offering flexible working arrangements and ensuring gender parity at the top of businesses are just some of the things that can be done. 

For any organisation, business, community or otherwise to achieve gender equality, a collaborative approach is key. By adopting the “Each for Equal” mindset, together everyone can contribute to a gender equal future. 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon