International Women’s Day (IWD) is 8th March! This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange, calling on both the masses and individuals to help forge a better working world. There are so many reasons why IWD is important, which will differ according to each group or individual, but we’ve picked out just five. We’d also love to hear about what IWD means to you!
1. Boobs Are Still News
Emma Watson recently hit the headlines for a Vanity Fair photoshoot which included a shot of Watson in a crocheted jacket with no bra or top underneath, with critics suggesting that she couldn’t be both a feminist and reveal her breasts in a photo. Watson responded to the frenzy, arguing that ‘It just reveals to me how many misconceptions and what a misunderstanding there is about what feminism is… Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.’
We agree Emma, and we love you regardless of what your boobs are doing.
2. The Pay Gap
The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970, prohibiting any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions and employment. Yet in 2017 women are still earning less than men – The Fawcett Society asserts that the current overall gap for full time workers is 13.9%. There is good news though – from 2018 companies with over 250 employees will have to disclose how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff, meaning greater transparency and a push to ensure women are not being unfairly underpaid.
3. Women Supporting Women
Strength can be found in numbers, and in the fight for gender equality it is important for women to celebrate and support other women. It is estimated that between 3.3 million and 4.6 million marchers participated in the Women’s Marches across the Unites States, with nearly 300,000 attending in locations around the world (100,000 of those being in London). It is so positive and important to see people of all genders and races come together to stand up for a common goal – gender equality – and International Women’s Day is a great platform to do that.
4. Ending Violence Against Women
UN Women estimates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and /or sexual intimate partner violence of sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. In England and Wales alone 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, with 2 women killed every week by a current or former partner. These numbers are shockingly high and cannot be ignored. We were pleased by the recent news that MP’s voted 138-1 in favour of the Istanbul Convention, legislation that sets minimum standards for governments to meet when tackling violence against women, such as guaranteeing funding for shelters and rape crises centres and making sure children are taught about healthy relationships at school. Taking these steps will hopefully help in the campaign to educate, prevent and decrease domestic violence. Our dream is that one day that the work of our charity, running workshops with women affected by domestic violence, will not need to exist.
5. ‘Like A Girl’
There is still a huge language divide between ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ words, a prime example being to do something ‘like a girl’. It hasn’t gone unnoticed, and big brands such as Always and EDF are campaigning to change the meaning of how we use this language. Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign twists the phrase on it’s head to display the power of girls, whilst EDF’s ‘Pretty Curious‘ adverts begin with girls aligned next to the words ‘I’m pretty…’ before leading on to say words such as ‘curious’, ‘determined’ and ‘inventive’, aiming to encourage more girls into STEM and highlighting the stereotypical and damaging narrative that usually accompanies young girls and limits them to nothing more than their looks. We hope that other companies and individuals take note and progress in the same direction – just ask Beyonce who runs the world.