Today is International Women's Day. Originally created and celebrated on February 28, 1909 by the Socialist Party of America, March 8 became the day of celebration after women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917. The day was finally adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. In some places, it is a day of protest, in others, a day that celebrates womanhood.
The day is a national holiday in 26 countries. In others, it is widely observed but not an official public holiday. In the United States, it is recognized but not an official public holiday, though attempts have been instituted since 1994.
Each year since 1996 has had an official theme named by the United Nations. This year's theme is
"Think equal, build smart, innovate for change," focusing on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure.
The goals for the initiative seek to:
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
- Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
The United States International Women's Day group is also promoting "#BalanceforBetter." Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance of wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage...
Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
Gender equality is one of the things that always amazes me that we still have to keep talking about it. That we haven't solved it yet. And that there are people who would view it as a negative for society. Sure, they won't couch it in such terms, they'll focus on traditional women's roles or "family values." See Tucker Carlson's astounding assertion that falling male wages in comparison to female wages is at the root of all of our family problems. Or lamenting how men are becoming less male. Whatever that means.
Here's what we still have to fight:
- Women on average still make only 80% of what men make for the same job
- That gets worse in minority populations ranging from 53% to 77% (the discrepancy is slightly less in Asian populations at 85%)
- The gender pay gap shrank between 1980 and 2000, but has largely stalled since then, closing by less than a nickel up to 2017.
- One in eight women live in poverty and women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men
- 90% of adult sexual assault victims are women
- Every 98 seconds an individual is sexually assaulted in the United States
- One in three teenaged girls in the United States is reported as being a survivor of sexual violence, with young women of color and LGBTQ being particularly vulnerable
- Girls are sexually abused at a rate 4.4 times higher than boys, and their behaviorable reaction to trauma is often criminalized
- Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under 12
- Nearly half of all female rape survivors were assaulted before the age of 18
- Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault
- One in five women are sexually assaulted while in college
- Only 66% of voting age women have access to proof of citizenship with their current name
- About two-thirds of individuals in the United States believe it is easier for a man to be elected than a woman
- We still cannot pass the Equal Rights Amendment, making gender discrimination unconstitutional
- Maternal mortality rate has risen in the United States by 27% from 2000 to 2014
And that's the tip of the iceberg.
We have a long way to go, but we can get there.
Together, as equals.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
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