“Today is your day and mine, the only day that we have to play our part. What our part may signify in the great whole we may not understand, but we are here to play it, and now is our time.”(David Starr Jordan)
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to honor and celebrate the women in our lives and those whose work has paved the way for so many of us. We have all been raised on the shoulders of one or more women who have embraced bravery despite personal or professional obstacles. Their persistence has made a powerful impact in our lives and that of the world. Through their work in the arts, education, healthcare, STEM, law, public service, policy implementation and more, women have fought for rights, telling their own stories and advocating for others. They have and continue to break barriers and challenge discrimination based on gender, economic status, sexual orientation and race in the name of equality. They are –enabler, nurturer, motivator, entrepreneur, believer, supporter, leader, optimist, powerful, legend– women who deserve our praise. They possess the tenacity and drive to step up to the podium and raise their voices so that others may find their voice. I applaud the women.
As you celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), remember to also focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. This year’s theme for IWD, “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” is crucial for all women to think and build on that understanding of change because the original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women in the world – has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. It is an embarrassment for all women if we accept that as the status quo and not work harder to achieve the goals set in in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 24 years ago. (For further read please refer to my March 6, 2015 post Empowering Women).IWD BELONGS TO ALL WOMEN, EVERYWHERE, INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE. The road is long, the journey tough. Together, we can change the world in which we want our children to live.