Reminding us every year to track the progress of gender equality, International Women’s Day is right around the corner to celebrate the social, political, economic and the domestic achievements of women across nations. The efforts put behind every ordinary to an extraordinary task are appreciated with the hope of minimising gender wage gap, gender stereotypes and gendered presumptions. At the same time, one must not forget the challenges that still loom over contemporary women, thereby urging a continuous improvement of public policies.
Going back to the time of inception, International Women’s Day (IWD) has sown its seeds in the year 1909 when Theresa Serber Malkiel, Russian-American activist organised a women’s march under a party name Socialist Party of America. For the first time in history, women not only got out on to the streets but also demanded equal pay for equal labour. Another Women’s Conference in the year 1910 by the American Socialists inspired the German Socialists and created awareness about equal rights for all genders, not to forget Women’s Suffrage movement. From the year 1911, there began an official celebration of IWD across countries like Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
In the year 1975, the United Nations recognized IWD as an official day for the celebration of women’s multiple roles and annually arranged a theme-based event for the same. This year the UN is celebrating the day with the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and a hashtag #GenerationEquality. The Generation Equality Campaign aims to bring together individuals irrespective of gender, age, country or ethnicity in order to make the world a gender-equal place.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in her statement for International Women’s Day insists on fighting the barriers against a gender-neutral world. The UN official site states, “Regardless of our age, country, background or gender, the fight for equal rights has collectively defined our lives and we must take action together to achieve it. This International Women’s Day, UN Women’s multi-generational campaign, Generation Equality brings together past and present advocates to demand gender equality in this generation.” Apple, American multinational company is celebrating the day by holding women-centric events across its retail stores.
In India, Chandigarh will be hosting events for women on a reserved a stretch of road in every district. This comes in relation to the theme #ReclaimPublicSpaces organized by the state’s Women and Child Development Department.
The day must be recognized as a day of acknowledgement of women’s efforts but the fact that we still need to reassert gender equality tells us something about the existing societal loopholes. We anyways continue the appreciation of women’s multifaceted roles in the hope of moving one step closer to gender neutrality.