International Women’s Day seems more necessary than ever after a year where 300,000 women took to the streets across the globe in protest against President Donald Trump’s treatment of women as well as general anti-Trump feeling against his inherent sexism (and racism). This is all in stark contrast to 2011 when former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month.’
International Women’s Day resonates following a time when allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the wider Hollywood film industry have quickly snowballed into an international-scale revelation of seemingly infinite abuses against women (and yes, men too) in all industries followed by reports of abuses of women by leading charities and BBC reporters resigning over the disparity in pay… the list goes on.
Yet the year we celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 also celebrates 100 years since the Representation of the People Act passed in 1918, the official start of female suffrage in Great Britain. Seven year’s earlier, on March 19, 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland celebrated International Women’s Day and rallied for the right to vote, hold public office and women’s rights at work. International Women’s Day was recognised by the UN in 1975, and each year it chooses a theme. This year’s theme is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” Listen to UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speak about it in this video.
Late last year, the BBC created a list of 100 inspirational and innovative women for 2017 challenging them to tackle four of the biggest problems facing women today – the glass ceiling, female illiteracy, harassment in public spaces and sexism in sport. All topics International Women’s Day exists to support.
Now International Women’s Day is marked on March 8 every year and is a worldwide celebration. Whether you’re saying #MeToo or #YoTambien in Mexico, Spain, South American or #Ana_kaman in the Arab States be inspired to join in and celebrate International Women’s Day 2018! Find more about it on social media using: #IWD2018 #Timeisnow #TimesUp
The official International Women’s Day website even gives details on how to plan your own International Women’s Day through championing your own #PressforProgress campaign within your own community, network, organisation or group.
Or you can join in with the multiple events going on in London and the UK, check the IWD website for your local events. At the Southbank Centre in London there’s the WOW – Women of the World festival from 7-9 March which includes a night of comedy hosted by Sandi Toksvig.
You may also like to read our previous blog on international women’s day with more background on rather surprising findings of ancient history and matriarchal societies today.
So go on, #PressForProgress!
Jo Fernandez is a leading UK travel journalist, with much of her career spent working for the London Evening Standard where she was Travel Editor until 2015. Now a freelance travel journalist and copywriter, she lives in Essex and has one daughter. As a travel expert, she still enjoys jetting off to write travel pieces, with favourite destinations including Mexico, Croatia and, of course, Essex.