08/03/18 International Women’s Day 2018 & Why We Still Fight

Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 (IWD), a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements, from the political to the social, all the while calling for gender equality throughout the world.

In a year that saw women from all walks of life rise up in protests, power building and advocacy over issues of equality and harassment, now more than ever there’s a push for gender parity worldwide.

This is a time to reflect on the significant progress that’s been made for women’s rights over the years and an opportunity to pay tribute to all of the remarkable women who have paved the way for us. But most importantly, it serves as a day to think about all of the women and girls around the world who still face adversity every single day.

 

Image courtesy: The first National Woman’s Day in NYC on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions | globalcitizen.org
But how did it begin?

It’s 110 years since the protest of 15,000 women garment workers, who marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. This sparked events that went on to form International Women’s Day, with March 8th selected every year to push for women’s demands of gender equality and formally recognised day by the UNWith no one affiliation, IWD brings together governments, women’s organisations, corporations and charities all around the world.

Why do we still celebrate it? 

While hugely positive changes have been achieved to date, there’s still a lot more to do. Did you know that in 2017, women effectively worked “for free” for 51 days of the year because of the gender pay gap? Did you also know that women are also predicted to face another 118-year wait for the gender pay gap to close, with only 55 of the 500 richest people in the world being women?

The original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.

 

international women's day female garment workers protest

Image courtesy: Garment workers protest | Rainbow Collective

Taking IWD back to its roots, we’re shining the light on the women garment workers of today and tomorrow.

With an estimated 40 million garment workers worldwide, 90% are women and girls, and risk the sack for standing up for their rights. For these women, development is closely linked to their conditions at work. It’s about gaining a decent pay, working under dignified conditions and having basic work security. It’s about moving out of poverty, being able to provide children with education, and to become more independent and grow as an individual. Simple demands really.

What can you do?

Fed up with the hypocrisy of brands who preach lyrically about their feminist ideals of putting women first yet manage to massively overlook the wellbeing of their female garment workers? Want to demand better treatment of these women, and all women globally? Then stick with us and support ethical fashion brands who care about the wellbeing of the people, the majority of which are women, who make their clothes. Beyond words, wear your values.

#PressforProgress