International Women's Day 2021

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2021 29 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY to abdicate, and the provisional government granted women the right to vote. The date when the women’s strike com- menced on the Julian calendar, which was then in use in Russia, was Sunday, February 23. This day in the Gregorian calendar was March 8 - and that is when it is celebrated today. 3. What colours sym- bolise International Women’s Day? Purple, green, and white are the colours of International Women’s Day. “Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908,”the International Women’s Day campaign says. 4. Is there an Int’l Men’s Day? There is indeed, on November 19. But it has only beenmarked since the 1990s and is not recognised by the UN. People cele- brate it in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the UK. The day celebrates“the positive value men bring to the world, their families, and com- munities”, highlighting positive role models and raising awareness of men’s well-being. The theme for 2020 was “Better Health for Men and Boys”. 5. How is Women’s Day celebrated, and will there be virtual events this year? International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries, including Russia, where the sales of flowers doubles during the three or four days around March 8. In China, many women are given a half-day off work on March 8, as advised by the State Council, althoughmany employers don’t always pass the half-day on to their female employees. In Italy, International Women’s Day, or la Festa della Donna, is celebrated by the giv- ing of mimosa blossoms. The origin of this tradition is unclear, but it is believed to have started in Rome after WorldWar II. In the US, the month of March is Women’s History Month. A presidential proclamation issued every year honours the achievements of American women. This year will look a little different because of the coronavirus, and more virtual events are expected to take place around the world. 6. What is the IWD 2021 theme? Thisyear’sInternationalWomen’sDaycampaign haschosenthetheme#ChooseToChallenge,with theideathatachallengedworldisanalertworld, andindividually,we’reallresponsibleforourown thoughts and actions. “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,”the campaign states. “We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” People are being asked to“raise your hand high to show you’re in and that you commit to choose to challenge and call out inequality”. 7. Why do we need it? Gender parity will not be attained for almost a century,” according to the IWD campaign. Referring to theWorld Economic Forum, it says that “none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes nor likely will many of our children”. It has also been a very tough time recently, with data from UNWomen revealing that the coronaviruspandemiccouldwipeout 25yearsof increasinggenderequality.Womenaredoingsig- nificantlymoredomestic chores and family care becauseof thepandemic,which inturn, canhave an impact on job and educationopportunities. Despite concerns over coronavirus, marches tookplace around theworld for IWD2020.While themajoritywerepeaceful, in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, police detained dozens of wom- en’s-rights activists shortly after masked men reportedly attackedmarchers. Activists say that women’s rights are deteriorating in the country. Across Pakistan, marches took place in sev- eral cities in the face of violent threats and legal petitions. AndinMexico,about80,000peopletooktothe streets to highlight the country’s rising levels of violenceagainstwomen,butmorethan60people left injured. Although the rally began peacefully, the police say that some groups threw petrol bombs, andofficers respondedwith tear gas. In the past few years though, we have seen progress and the women’s movement reach an unprecedented scale. This year saw the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first female, first black, and first Asian-American US vice president. In 2019, Finland elected a new coalition government headed by five women, abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland, and a law that controlled how women acted and dressed in public in Sudan was repealed. Andwho can forget the impact of the #MeToo conversation, which began back in 2017 with a hashtagonsocialmedia,speakingoutagainstexpe- riencesofharassmentandsexualassault?Itisnow agrowingglobal phenomenon that continues to highlightunacceptableandinappropriatebehav- iour andhas led tomanyhigh-profileconvictions. – Taken from the BBC MARCHES CONTINUED FROM 14