International Women’s Day is once again upon us, with events taking place across the world to put the spotlight on the progress women have made and the many issues still facing women today.
- Globally, women make up just 23% of people in national parliaments worldwide
- Women, on average, earn 25-40% less than men who do the same job
- Across the world, over 60% of the people who cannot read are women
With that in mind, International Women’s Day is a worldwide event celebrating the social, economic and political achievements of women while actively pursuing gender parity in every capacity. The first IWD in 1911 was celebrated by over a million people across Europe and continues to be an inspirational, celebratory event today.
This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter: “Better the balance, better the world.” Because that is, inherently, what any debate on feminism or gender equality should come down to. More often than not, upon hearing that I am a proud feminist, the person directing their judgement accuses me of hating fellow men or actively being against gender equality. Sceptics are prone to ignoring the fact that most feminists do want equality, and are unfortunately unable to grasp that levelling the playing field may have to come as a result of men taking responsibility for their actions, past and present.
Pledge your support to one of the many organisations fighting to support women throughout Scotland. A plethora of groups, from Scottish Women’s Aid and Shelter Scotland to Glasgow Women’s Aid and LGBT+ Youth Scotland, work tirelessly within their remit to protect the lives of girls and women across the country, and each deserves your support wherever possible. And try to find an IWD event near you: on their website, you can find events that are happening close to you, or take the reins and create a unique IWD event by yourself! Arrange a lunchtime book club where everyone can bring a book written by a woman, with everyone chipping in a few quid to support one of the aforementioned charities.
There is a series of exciting events running through the Govanhill Suffrage Project, a collective celebrating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which first women and all men the right to vote in UK elections. The exhibitions run from Friday 8th to Saturday 23rd March and includes events like “Women on the Mend, Rags to Riches” – in which participants can learn new craft skills and meditate – and a street performance in which actors recreate historic speeches and portray some of the real women who fought suffered and died during the suffrage campaign.
Other events in Glasgow include “Women’s Work” on 6th March, including workshops, talks and a film screening to consider how we can rethink our economy. You will be challenged to ask yourself: what happens if you value work often done by women such as caring responsibilities and domestic labour as equal to other forms of productivity. Can we create a system of value and exchange that works for everyone?
Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, Edinburgh Gliterary Lunch Celebrating International Women’s Day & World Book Day on 7th March sees writers Erin Kelly & Mary Chamberlain discuss the inspiration for their latest works over an amazing lunch. Tickets are £60 per head or £600 for a table of 10. And there is loads of other stuff, but being a massive ancient Egypt nerd, I am most excited for Pioneers: Women in Egyptology 9th, the opening of our new Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery, celebrate the achievements of women in Egyptology past and present. Join TV presenter Margaret Mountford (BBC’s The Apprentice), researcher Lee Young and academic Heba Abd el Gawad as they tell the stories of the talented and tenacious women whose work has left a lasting legacy in this field
International Women’s Day is a great time for us all to reflect on the progress we have made in achieving gender equality as well as all we can do to support women from all walks of life.