International Women’s Day

Every year on the 8th March, International Women’s Day is celebrated all around the world. Why do we have this day and why is it important? Let’s unpack this and look at this years theme #BreakTheBias.

Throughout history, women have faced discrimination, stereotyping and have been denied equal rights, simply for being a woman and have fought for gender equality. To celebrate the efforts and achievements of women and the fight for gender equality, we celebrate International Women’s Day. For more information on International Women’s Day, watch the video below.

What is gender equality?

This means that regardless of your gender, you are granted the same rights, privileges and access to opportunities as everyone else.

You might be thinking, ‘Why is this day important?’ or ‘We now live in a gender equal society’. However, this has not always been the case and throughout history, women have fought endlessly for the rights women have today.

Here are just some of the things that women weren’t allowed to do

  • Vote or stand in parliament
  • Own property
  • Visit the same public areas as men
  • Get the same education or jobs as men
  • Couldn’t wear certain clothes

It took a long time for things to gradually change and took both men and women working together to fight for what is right.

One of these women was Manchester’s own Emmaline Pankhurst, who fought for women’s suffrage (the right to vote) and formed the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903. This led to years of protests, rallies and strikes with some women even being jailed and even losing their lives in the fight for women’s rights.

It wasn’t until 1928 that all women over 21 were allowed to vote. Once this was achieved, other things started to change, but it took a lot of time and effort from men and women fighting tirelessly for women’s rights.

Why is International Women’s Day important today?

We are so fortunate to live in a time and place where everyone can receive and education, express their thoughts and opinions and work in any job they desire.

However even now, we still have work to do in the fight for gender equality and people still face gender stereotyping. Even though huge changes have been made, women are still the minority in leadership roles and make less money than men on the whole and stereotyping is still very present in our society today. You might have experienced this yourself or have been told that you can’t or shouldn’t do certain things because of your gender. Phrases like ‘man up’ or ‘boys don’t cry’ or ‘you throw like a girl’ are examples of stereotyping which you can challenge or educate others on why phrases like this can be harmful.

Everyone can be athletic, strong or emotional and pursue any hobby or career regardless of their gender and it is important to carry on calling out gender inequality and stereotypical behaviour.

So how could you celebrate women and their achievements this International Women’s Day? Who are the women in your life that inspire you or women role models that you might look up to?

This International Women’s Day, the theme is #BreakTheBias. There might be a time where you have faced bias or discrimination yourself. Think about how this made you feel and what you wish would have been different. What could you do going forward to help #BreakTheBias? It could be simply calling out or educating others on gender equality or having discussions with friends and family members. Or getting involved with some of the International Women’s Day activities and resources both in and outside of your school.

Three things you could do this International Women’s Day…

  • Post a #BreakTheBias selfie
  • Visit the IWD website to get ideas on how to celebrate in your school or college
  • Share this article with someone

Happy International Women’s Day!