If you haven’t noticed it’s International Women’s Day today! Social media has been ablaze with hashtags and well wishes to all the wonderful women in our lives and this post is my little contribution to the day. It’s great to see women praising other women (makes a change) but more importantly uniting for good causes and celebrating the incredible females around us.
Whether it’s our mothers or a notable public figure, it feels good to take a moment and look at how far women have come, see the changes they’ve made and the opportunities they have carved out for the next generation. But the fight isn’t entirely over. Sure we have options and the freedom to do as we please, but there are thousands of women around the world who are still facing an uphill struggle, all because of their gender and unbeknown to many of us, there is still work to be done in the UK too.
The Independent newspaper clearly highlighted just why International Women’s Day is still relevant and needed in order to motivate change, and build upon the milestones we’ve already overcome.
Violence, female mutilation, forced marriages and working rights are core issues that affect women around the world. “In the UK, the gender pay gap stands at 15%, with women on average earning £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues,” the report explains. “The Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates it will take 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of female and male directors of FTSE 100 companies.”
What’s even more shocking is the estimation that if women with skills and education were fully utilised rather than out of work, the UK could deliver “economic benefits of £15 to £21 billion pounds per year – more than double the value of all our annual exports to China.”
Work isn’t just the only shocking issue. An estimated 1.2m children are trafficked into slavery every year with 80% of them being girls. A heartbreaking 1,440 women die each year from childbirth due to inadequate equipment, care and facilities. These are things that simply shouldn’t be happening in 2014.
Celebrating incredible women is just half of what this day is about. But in order to make International Women’s Day more poignant, imagine how satisfying it would be to know that every stone has been upturned – and conquered.