International Women's Day 2021

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2021 24 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States in accordance with their historical and national traditions. 1996 The UN announced its first annual theme “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”, which was followed in 1997 with “Women at the Peace Table”, in 1998 with “Women and Human Rights”, in 1999 with “World Free of Violence Against Women”, and so on each year until the present. 2000 By the new millennium, there was little activity occur- ring on International Women’s Day in most countries. The world had moved on, and in many spheres, feminismwas not a popular topic. Something was needed to reignite International Women’s Day, giving it the respect it de- served and raising awareness among the masses. There was urgent work to do - battles had not been won and gender parity still had not been achieved. 2001 The platform was launchedwith the specific purpose of re-energising the day – a focus that continues to this day - celebrating andmak- ing visible the achievements of women while continuing the call for accelerating gender parity. The website, which provides useful guidance and resources, adopts an annual campaign theme that is globally relevant for groups and organisations. The campaign theme, one of many around the world, provides a framework and direction for annual IWD activity and takes into account the wider agenda of both celebration as well as the call to action for gender parity. Campaign themes over the years have included #ChooseToChallenge, #EachforEqual, #BalanceforBetter, #PressforProgress, #BeBoldforChange, #PledgeforParity, #MakeItHappen, #TheGenderAgenda, and more. Campaign themes for the global IWD website are collaboratively developed each year with a range of stakeholders and widely adopted worldwide. The IWD website also serves as a significant vehicle for charities, and in 2020, a hefty six-figure sum was fundraised, with 100% of donations going to char- ity. The IWD website’s Charities of Choice are the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) since 2007, and Catalyst Inc, the global working-wom- en’s organisation, since 2017. 2021 sees IWD’s charitable fundraising opened up more widely to further registered charities around the world. 2011 2011 saw the 100-year centenary of International Women’s Day – with the first IWD event held exactly 100 years ago in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”, calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on “the ex- traordinary accomplishments of women “in shaping the country’s history”. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the“100Women Initiative: EmpoweringWomen and Girls through International Exchanges”. In the United Kingdom, celebrity activist Annie Lennox led a march across one of London’s iconic bridges, raising aware- ness in support for global charity Women for Women International. Further charities such as Oxfam have run extensive IWD activities. Many celebrities and business leaders actively support the day. 2021 and beyond The world has witnessed a significant change and attitu- dinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equal to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in busi- ness or politics, and globally, women’s education, health, and the violence against them is worse HISTORY CONTINUED FROM 22 PLEASE SEE HISTORY , 28