Why celebrating International Women’s day is still important?

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

This coming Sunday is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day has been officially celebrated since 1911, and on March 8th since 1913. This day recognizes women’s accomplishments, while still aiming for progress and equity in various social spheres. In 2020, what importance does International Women’s Day hold and is it still necessary?

On one hand, this day marks a remembrance for the inequality women have endured and keep enduring (whether obvious or more subtle). On the other hand, many criticize this day and accuse it of being another form of gender disparity (because if women and men were equal, there wouldn’t be the need of reserving a day to celebrate women).

While women’s rights have come a long way since the early 1900s, there is still a long way to go for societal parity. While most of the women’s basic rights allowing them a voice in society (right to work, right to vote, right to run for office) have been met, there’s still work to do. With the basic rights established, IWD now focuses on more modern struggles allowing the emancipation of women. In 1996, the UN announced an initiative to adopt an annual theme for this day. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, encouraging each individual to actively work towards an equal world for all genders. While possibilities have been allowed for women, there’s still work that needs to be done to concretize those opportunities into reality in many aspects, such as the gender pay gap (in 2016, Canadian women earned 69 cents for every dollar earned by a man).

Many countries celebrate IWD (some even making it a national holiday), it is important to remember that women’s condition varies around the globe and that oppression still exists. While progress in Canada is undeniable with women holding leaderships and public office positions and being more independent, we are now turning towards more modern claims that would allow us to become fully equal to men in every sphere of society.

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