International Women’s Day 2020: should you even care?
Like Christmas, International Women’s Day comes around once a year. Like me, you may not have heard about it until a few years ago and wonder what it’s all about. It must just be an excuse for yet another ‘commemorative’ day, right?
Don’t we have equal rights already? I’ll be honest, it’s just something I didn’t care about. Then, I read up on it, and I was kinda horrified. I discovered that International Women’s Day is indeed an actual thing (it’s an official United Nations observance no less) and most importantly, it needs to be a thing!
Where does International Women’s Day come from?
Well, it started in America and Russia. I know, I know, doesn’t everything? Your eye roll is perfectly understandable, but stay with me, it’s actually pretty interesting.
The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on 28 February.
The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.
Sisters and doing it for themselves… In Russia, in protest of World War I.
Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8th March the following year, women held rallies in protest of the war and to express solidarity with other activists.
The right to vote in Russia.
Women in Russia chose to strike for “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8th March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.
The end of World War II
After World War II, 8th March started to be celebrated by women in a number of countries. The movement began to build pace.
International Women’s Year
The United Nations began celebrating 8th March as International Women’s Day.
The UN proclaim an observance.
Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
International Women’s Day is now a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – while also marking a call-to-action for accelerating gender equality.
So there you have it, a (very) brief history of International Women’s Day. Are you as surprised as I was to see how heavily involved Russian women were in the movement? Go Russia! Not a phrase I thought I would ever be writing, but I think it’s well deserved in this instance.
Why does International Women’s Day matter now?
You can be forgiven for thinking that the plight of women back then has nothing to do with the position of women now. Thankfully, for a lot of women, including myself, that is true. But… and it’s a big but, that isn’t the case for all women.
Living and working in the UK, it’s easy to forget the rights and freedoms, that in the most part, are afforded to women. On the whole, women are pretty lucky in this country.
Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t there yet. There is still work to be done. Even though more women are breaking through the glass ceiling everyday, unfortunately it’s still there.
We still need gender equal boardrooms, governments and workplaces. We still need to challenge stereotypes and fight bias when we encounter it. But, the very fact that we know that, shows just how far we have come. Gender equality is not a social norm anymore. We don’t all just accept it. We challenge it.
We know that as a collective we have the power to help create a gender equal world. We can all be #EachforEqual.
Happy International Women’s Day
So, whether you identify as female, male or non-binary, let International Women’s Day be an excuse for you to celebrate the women in your life. Give a shout out to your family, friends, colleagues and employees. And, if like me, you are lucky enough to be blessed both at home and work with gender equality, take the time to be thankful for it, and do everything in your individual power to help other women achieve the same.
Also, if at work you happen to manage women, why not buy them some chocolate to celebrate their contribution to your business. Good idea, right boss?
I like Galaxy (other brands available)
… just saying
Want to know how you and your business can get more involved in International Women’s Day 2020? Check out the official website.