International Women’s Day: why it matters
On March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day and has been doing so since 1975. And every year the same remarks can be heard, coming from men and women all the same.
You have people asking the critical questions: “Do we really need this? “, “What is the importance?”. Others feel attacked: “Why is there not an International Men’s Day then?” (For the record, there is, and it’s celebrated on November 19th). Others just shrug: “Isn’t this whole thing exaggerated? Haven’t women already achieved equality?” The answer is: no, they haven’t; here is why you should care about celebrating International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day (IWD for short) is a yearly reminder that not every woman around the globe has achieved equal rights. Or is treated equally, for that matter. Those rights are the same fundamental human rights that were established by the United Nations 70 years ago. In the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” it is included for every human being to be able to: “live free from violence, slavery and discrimination; to receive education, to be able to vote, to be able to own property and to earn a fair and equal wage.”
The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report
Just a few months ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published their Global Gender Gap Report. This report is a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time. (World Economic Forum, 2017) The report focuses on four key areas: health, education, economic participation and politic empowerment. The reports states a not so positive result over the past year. Since the beginning of taking measurements in 2006, the report declares that the Global Gender Gap has become bigger overall. It states, “On current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years across the 106 countries covered since the inception of the Report, compared to 83 years last year.” Whilst it is true that some area’s presented better results than others, the key message is that, concerning gender parity, there is still a long road ahead of us.
Our Focus on International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day, we focus on just that. We celebrate this day as a tribute to the women who broke ground towards progress. Yet, it serves as a reminder of the inequality that persists in society today. And certainly, as women, we have the responsibility to fight for other women who don’t have what we have.
With the results of the Global Gender Gap Report in mind, and in the light of the #MeToo and the #TimesUp – movements, it is no surprise that this year’s IWD-campaign is #PressforProgress. A strong call for action to press forward towards gender parity all over the world. This won’t be possible without the substantial effort of each and one of us. Everyone has the possibility to encourage others to maintain a gender parity mindset, to influence others‘believes and actions, either by calling out inappropriate behavior or challenging stereotypes and biases. Or to simply celebrate women’s achievements, either great or small.
Therefore, this day is very important to Ericsson as well. As a key player in the field, we acknowledge the importance of diversity and inclusion. Either by creating platforms where people’s voices are heard, just as this very blog is. Or, by actively celebrating the women in our field, such as the Girls in ICT day in April or the Girls Who Innovate Competition.
We celebrate IWD specially to encourage men and women to be allies, instead of competitors. To complement each other’s differences, instead of fighting them and to keep going further in expanding our perspectives and attitudes, so we can keep growing as people and as a company.
This to me is why we need International Women’s Day. And so, on March 8th, we will dress ourselves in violet colors in honor of women everywhere. And, we will keep pressing for progress, each in our own way.