It all began nearly two decades before women were granted the right to vote in the United States. It seems unimaginable to any of us today that such a time existed when women lived in the U.S. without many of the most basic rights granted freely to men, but unfortunately many such practices of discrimination are a part of our history. In 1908 the debate regarding the overt oppression and inequity against women resonated openly on the streets of New York City when 15,000 marchers protested, demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later the first Women’s Day was observed in the U.S. In 1910 the inaugural International Women’s Day (IWD) was observed in Copenhagen at the International Women’s Conference. Later it was decided that March 8 would be the day women around the world would celebrate and join together to promote women’s achievements. The Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975.
This year the theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Women around the globe will gather to rally for equal treatment and representation and encourage all people to create an environment that is equitable, inclusive, and free from bias and discrimination. The social media theme of IWD 2022 is represented by #BreakThe Bias. “We have today the opportunity to put women and girls at the center of our planning and action and to integrate gender perspectives into global and national laws and policies,” says Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women. Despite the long history of measured progress and a few significant advances in women’s rights, a large number of nations around the world continue to deny women even the most basics of equality and freedom even though they represent 49.5 percent of the world’s population.
Occupying 88 percent of jobs in personal care and just 3 percent of building-related trades, women are making significant strides across the spectrum of occupations. However, men continue to dominate senior management positions such as CEO, senior officials, and legislators, of which 72% are males. A heightened effort to expand opportunities in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math is underway in order to support the advancing digital economy.
But women are gaining ground in the corporate, senior management sector. In the 2021 The World’s Most Power Women, Forbes notes that there are 40 female CEOs that manage more than $3.3 trillion in revenue. “Our experience can’t be dictated by what we’re allowed to do or given permission to do,” says film director Ava Duvernay. “If there’s a thesis statement for this list, that’s as close as it comes: These are the women who are rewriting the rules of business, finance and politics. Their work is needed now more than ever.”
For generations, the mission of International Women’s Day has been taking action to drive gender parity, advance gender equality, and create a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinem