A global pandemic may have halted many things for us recently, but one important date we should still mark is International Women’s Day (IWD) - created to celebrate women’s achievements and to call for equality.
The day is usually celebrated with events around the world, however, due to Covid-19 this year will be very different. But the events of 2020 and 2021 created a unique set of challenges for women everywhere – job losses, rises in domestic abuse, home-schooling, healthcare restrictions, to name a few – meaning this IWD should be promoted and celebrated more than ever.
The day was first celebrated in the US on February 28, 1909, it was formalised in 1910 and later moved to March 8 in 1913, where it has stayed firmly in our calendars ever since.
Despite the long history of IWD and the inevitable eye-roll from many that the day still needs to be celebrated, full gender equality still hasn’t been achieved. We still have a gender pay gap, girls and women still face violence, still lack equal opportunities for leadership positions, and still lack access to education and healthcare as a whole.
Both men and women will continue to shine a light on this day annually until true equality is realised. Besides, a celebration for women globally is needed this year more than ever.
According to a study by UN Women Coronavirus could put gender equality back by 25 years, due to women doing more in terms of domestic and family care. Furthermore, a report from Counting Dead Women recently revealed that 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children occurred during just the first three weeks of the UK’s lockdown…
As women around the world feel the effects of this pandemic in all areas of their lives, this year’s IWD is being celebrated with the theme of #ChooseToChallenge asking the world to recognise and call out gender bias and inequality when they see it.
With no March4Women planned for London this year, Care International has still managed to organise an online event to mark the day. The theme for this event is #SheLeadsInCrisis, which will recognise the role that women have played during Covid-19.
You can join the event here to listen to talks around the topic of “Stop telling half the story”, which covers the challenges women face due to their absence from decision-making roles. Care International is calling on the UK government to lead in championing women, create UK Aid for women’s leadership and rights, ensure women are in leadership roles for the UK’s Covid-19 recovery and globally at G7, and ensure that women are represented in decision-making roles in the response to climate change at COP26.
The road to achieving full gender equality may be long and painful, with many setbacks along the way, but even a global pandemic won’t hold us back.
Happy #internationalwomensday2021 everyone!
About the author.
Kayleigh Bateman holds the role of Senior Messaging and Copywriter at Fuel Integrated. She joined Fuel’s team from Vitesse Media where she was the Editor-in-Chief of Information Age and an advocate for diversity in the tech sector. Kayleigh has worked as a journalist for TechTarget, Computer Weekly, CRN UK and WeAreTechWomen, whilst having contributed to the FT, Times, BBC and BCS.