International Women's Day 2021
International Women’s Day is set to take place on Monday 8th March 2021. It is a day which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the world. On 8th March, we are also reminded of the ongoing global efforts of individuals and groups alike, all with the aim of fighting against gender inequality. IWD is not linked to any specific country, group, or organisation.
Therefore, International Women’s Day is a day of celebration but equally a reminder of the work left to be done to ensure gender parity.
As is the case each year, a main theme is selected. This theme lies at the heart of all events and the theme which has been chosen for this year is ‘#ChooseToChallenge’. As the IWD website states, ‘A challenged world is an alert world and from alert comes change’. Participants are encouraged to share what existing obstacles they will choose to challenge. For example, gender stereotypes or bias.
International Women’s Day has evolved into a predominantly virtual event, especially with the current global pandemic. Individuals and organisations are invited to send in their #ChooseToChallenge photo and strike the #ChooseToChallenge pose with their hand high to show their commitment to challenge inequality.
This global celebration is defined by its clear and comprehensive missions. These missions are a way of highlighting areas where more must be done to forge an equal world.
The missions cover a variety of different sectors, particularly sectors where women tend to be underrepresented such as technology and sport. This year’s missions focus on the following areas:
1. Women in Technology
Celebrating women in technology and innovation led by women
2. Women in Sport
Applauding women athletes and promoting equality for women in sport
3. Women at Work
Building inclusive workplaces where women can women thrive
4. Women’s Empowerment
Forging women’s empowerment worldwide
5. Women’s Health
Educating women on the decisions that they make about their bodies
6. Women Creatives
Increasing visibility of women in creative and artistic fields
Do we still need International Women's Day?
With so many international events to celebrate almost everything (even pizza!), some have questioned the validity of International Women’s Day and whether we still need it today. Is this just another celebration amongst so many others?
Well, perhaps. However, there is no denying that International Women’s Day is deeply rooted in history and symbolises not only the struggles undergone by so many others before us to get to where we are today, but it also represents what an equal and inclusive future should look like.
"it is easy to forget that this gender identity is still greatly excluded and discriminated against in many countries"
For those in privileged positions, living in more developed parts of the world where women are finding it increasingly easier to make their voices heard, it is easy to forget that this gender identity is still greatly excluded and discriminated against in many countries. Not all individuals who identify as women are able to enjoy the same levels of agency, freedom, and rights as individuals in other countries.
The collective nature of International Women’s Day reminds us that, no matter our privilege or background, we all have a part to play in ensuring an equal world. No matter our circumstance, we have a collective responsibility to forge this world together. This is especially important to remember when thinking about different political contexts; in countries governed by repressive regimes, women’s rights have become irrelevant as civil rights have been restricted.
By being vocal about International Women’s Day, we do not only represent ourselves but also those who are unable to speak out in defence of their rights. There is much to celebrate yet much left to do at the same time.
How can you get involved?
Use your voice
Whether it be via social media or a conversation with a friend or family member, talking about International Women’s Day helps to spread the message and normalise difficult conversations,
Join the IWD community
You can make an IWD account to access online activities and enter competitions: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Register
online events can be a great way to widen your perspective and learn about what progress is being made across the globe.
Donate to female-focused charities
There are many charities and non-profit organisations that work for the advancement of women and girls: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Fundraising
Whatever your gender identity, make your voice heard on International Women’s Day this year!
For more articles and resources on women's issues, head to our dedicated Feminism section.