International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day observed every year on March 8.
Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated to commemorate social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and honor women’s accomplishments as well as raise awareness about gender disparities and discrimination. The day is also marked to promote global support for women.
International Women’s Day has a rich history. Tracing the history, it emerged from the activities of labor movements in North America and Europe at the turn of the 20th century.
The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, to honor the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.
New York’s socialist movement inspired a German feminist and communist named Clara Zetkin, who in 1910 attended a meeting of the Socialist International in Copenhagen, Denmark where she proposed the establishment of an International Women’s Day.
But later on, in 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day. Since then, it is being observing every year worldwide.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2023) Director-General of UNESCO Ms. Audrey Azoulay has said in her message that, “we celebrate girls and women across the globe – and we remember that women’s rights must never be taken for granted.”
The focus of this year’s Day is innovation and technology for gender equality, a subject at the core of UNESCO’s crosscutting actions in education, the sciences, culture and communication.
“We need to ensure that women and girls benefit from the opportunities offered by the technological transformation but also, and above all, we need to ensure that they can help shape it, on an equal footing,” she added.
Meanwhile, to mark International Women’s Day, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and UN Women have jointly reaffirmed their commitment to keep women’s empowerment ‘Centre Stage’ of tourism development.
With the ‘Centre Stage’ model we can help the sector work for women and we will not stop until the girls of tomorrow have the same opportunities as the men of today
UNWTO research has previously shown the enormous potential of the tourism sector to empower women of all backgrounds.
Fifty-four per cent of the global tourism workforce is female, the gender-wage gap is lower in tourism, and the proportion of women in leadership roles is higher than in other sectors. However, much progress is still to be made, said the press note of UNWTO.
UNWTO research has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic hit women in tourism harder than men. For instance, women were more likely to lose their job, have their hours or pay reduced and to shoulder more care responsibilities in all of the countries surveyed.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili said “UNWTO has worked with our partners to study and document the huge contribution women make to tourism. Now it is time for tourism to give back. With the ‘Centre Stage’ model we can help the sector work for women and we will not stop until the girls of tomorrow have the same opportunities as the men of today.”
The pioneering ‘Centre Stage’ project was launched in 2021 to address this imbalance and expand tourism’s place in the development agenda and women’s empowerment.
Created by UNWTO, BMZ and UN Women, the project is geared towards creating a people-centered model for tourism development that puts the needs of women at its heart. In bringing together the public sector with tourism businesses and civil society organization, the project directly trained 1,800 people, saw 2,826 women get a promotion, surveyed 27,000 people and reached over 20 million in a global awareness raising campaign.
2023 International Women of Courage Award Recipients Announced
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, March 8, at 2:00 p.m. EST, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden will host the annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Awards ceremony at the White House.
The 2023 IWOC Award ceremony will honor a group of 11 extraordinary women from around the world who are working to build a brighter future for all.
Now in its 17th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity – often at great personal risk and sacrifice.
Since March 2007, the Department of State has recognized more than 180 women from more than 80 countries with the IWOC Award, stated the press note of the State Department.
Following the IWOC ceremony, the awardees will participate in an in-person International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange to connect with American counterparts in cities across the United States and strengthen their global networks of women leaders.
The 2023 awardees are:
Dr. Zakira Hekmat – Afghanistan (residing in Türkiye)
Ms. Alba Rueda – Argentina
Professor Danièle Darlan – Central African Republic
Ms. Doris Ríos – Costa Rica
Meaza Mohammed – Ethiopia
Ms. Hadeel Abdel Aziz – Jordan
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina – Kazakhstan
Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi – Malaysia
Brigadier General Bolor Ganbold – Mongolia
Mrs. Bianka Zalewska – Poland
Mrs. Yuliia Paievska – Ukraine
Madeleine Albright Honorary Group Award – the Women and Girl Protestors of Iran
Women in parliaments of the world
For the first time ever, there are women MPs in every single country on Earth, the Interparliamentary Union, IPU, said.
As per the UN News reports, Brazil saw a record 4,829 women who identify as Black, running for election, out of nearly 27,000 standing overall.
In the USA, a record 263 women of color stood in the Congressional Midterms. And LGBTQI+ representation in Colombia, tripled, from two to six members of the Congress.
In France, 32 candidates from a minority background were elected to the new National Assembly, an all-time high of 5.8 per cent of the total.
Six countries worldwide now have gender parity, thanks to New Zealand joining the club last year, which also includes, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the top nations in the IPU rankings for women membership.
Rwanda holds the top spot, with women occupying just over 60 per cent of parliamentary seats in the lower house. Tellingly however, even there, women still only occupy 34.6 per cent of seats in the upper chamber.