Celebrating, supporting, and defending women’s rights is a responsibility that everyone must have every day of the year since there is still a long way to go to achieve equality. For this reason, International Women’s Day has an important function, and that is to be a reminder of a constant struggle that women continue to face today.
However, it is common to hear the following message in our society:
“But things have changed a lot today; women already have the same rights as men”.
But how sure are you that they know about this? Below are several reasons why it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day.
- Men continue to receive a higher salary for the same job functions as women; this is called the pay gap.
- Most management positions are held by men. And in many cases, women do not have the option to move up the ladder. In fact, according to one study, half of the world’s population believes that men are better leaders in politics and business; these beliefs are what maintain the so-called glass ceiling.
- Women are more than twice as likely to be victims of physical, sexual, economic, or psychological violence compared to men.
- 40% of women suffer verbal or physical harassment while walking down the street during the day, more than three times as much as men.
- According to a UN report, 72% of all victims of human trafficking are women and girls.
- 40% of women of childbearing age live in countries where abortion is prohibited, restricted, or inaccessible, often putting women’s health at risk.
- In many parts of the world, women cannot decide to become mothers or not. For example, health centers in Burkina Faso can deny a woman a contraceptive method if her husband does not accompany her.
- More than 12 million underage girls are married every year. That’s approximately 30,000 little girls every day.
- Women worldwide spend more than twice as many hours as men doing unpaid work. Specifically, women spend 26.5 hours per week, compared to 14 hours for men. This time is used to care for children or family members, household chores, etc.
Now I will ask you again, have we managed to achieve gender equality today?
If gender equality implies that men and women should receive the same rights, equal opportunities, benefits, and be treated with the same respect in all aspects of daily life: education, health, work; clearly, we are light years away from the final goal.
“Gender equality has to be a lived reality.”
Michelle Bachelet, Chilean politician