International Women’s Day has been celebrated every year since 1911, that’s 111 years ago! Its message remains the same as when it first started:
“To celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but also to mark a call to action for accelerating gender parity”
It's one day a year when we honour all women and call attention to the important contributions women have made to the world, as well as the harsh realities that women still face today.
For many, obtaining the right to vote, equal income, and the right to own property is sufficient to eliminate gender disparities. And to quote your average “nice guy”, “But women already have the same rights as men”. But the reality is, it is not even close to equality, even if we have the same rights on paper.
Although there are severe regulations in place in the UK to combat gender discrimination, there are significant systematic inequities that have yet to be addressed in the UK and around the world. Women and girls continue to endure discrimination based on their gender, from assault to a lack of opportunities.
1 in 3
Nothing encapsulates the injustices that women face more than assault and abuse. Physical or sexual assault by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non-partner affects one in every three women worldwide. A statistic that has remained constant throughout the last decade. Only 4% of women disclose incidences of sexual harassment and assault, according to a UN Women UK study, while the majority of women are sceptical.
200 million women and girls
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised on women all around the world. This may be done for cultural and/or religious reasons, but there is no medical purpose for it. FGM is most commonly performed on young girls between the ages of five and fifteen when puberty begins. It is extremely harmful to women's and girls' health since it can lead to long-term issues with sex, childbirth, and mental health.
250 million women
Get married before they become 15 years old. Do you recall what you were doing when you were 15? Probably not marrying and instead of having fun with your buddies and being a typical adolescent. Even though there are laws prohibiting it, child marriage continues to be practised today. Girls who marry before they are 18 are statistically less likely to stay in school and are more likely to endure domestic abuse. Because their bodies are not fully grown, young teenage girls are more likely to experience pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s.
Only about 40% of countries in the globe provide equal educational opportunities for girls. 129 million girls are out of school around the world due to a variety of issues including poverty, child marriage, gender preference, violence, and now covid.
Poverty in the UK
Since austerity was implemented in the UK, there has been no denying that poverty has risen drastically. Single parents, on the other hand, have been impacted the hardest, with 45 percent of single parents (90 percent of whom are single mothers) living in poverty. With rising housing costs, employment discrimination and displacement, a child maintenance system that fails to ensure fathers pay their fair share, and the rising cost of childcare, a large number of single moms are giving up on a career and relying on universal credits.
There are many more challenges that women face, and genuine gender equality is still a long way off. This is where International Women's Day comes in handy in keeping the fight alive and the concerns in the spotlight.