International Women's Day 2023
International Women's Day, observed on March 8th every year, is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and to call for gender equality around the world. The theme for this year's International Women's Day is "Embrace Equity" which encourages individuals to challenge gender bias and inequality and to have conversations about “Why equal opportunities aren't enough”. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action, not just equality.
A gender-equal world is still important for many reasons. First and foremost, it is a matter of human rights. Women and girls have the right to live free from discrimination, violence, and oppression, and to have equal access to education, healthcare, and opportunities for economic and political empowerment. A gender-equal world is also important for social and economic development. When women and girls are given equal opportunities and rights, they can contribute fully to their communities and economies, leading to greater prosperity and well-being for everyone.
Embracing equity is our means to achieving equality. We need to recognise that each person has different circumstances, and allocates different resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome. We need more than just equality, as we know having the same resources and opportunities doesn’t equal the same outcome as people start at different bases. We must go deeper and look at the reasons why women face in-equity.
We know that women with a disability experience a high incidence of discrimination, abuse-physical, emotional and sexual abuse. At least one in five women affected by domestic violence is a woman with a disability (Human Rights Australia). Women with disabilities are doubly disadvantaged in our society, they live with being a woman in a sexist society and being labelled as disabled in a disability-phobic society.
Unfortunately, we still live in a world where gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination are all too common. Women and girls are often denied education, forced into early marriage, and subjected to violence and harassment. They are underrepresented in positions of power and decision-making, and are often paid less than men for the same work.
To create a gender-equal world, we must all play our part. This means challenging gender bias and stereotypes in our own lives and communities and advocating for policies and programs that promote gender equity. It means supporting women and girls to access education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, and ensuring that they are protected from violence and discrimination. It also means empowering women to take on leadership roles and participate fully in decision-making processes.
On this International Women's Day, let us all choose to challenge gender bias, inequality and inequity, and commit ourselves to creating a gender-equal world. Together, we can build a world where every woman and girl has the opportunity to fulfill her potential and live a life free from discrimination and violence.
Read more about this years theme, on the International Women's Day site here.