[Previously published in Humanist Voices; written by Anya Overmann and Scott Jacobsen]
March is Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is March 8, 2017. It is a day where every “person — women, men and non-binary people — can play a part in helping drive better outcomes for women.” The other is a month devoted to the catalogue, display, and public representation of women’s accomplishments in history. Why is this an important day for reflection? It is important because, according to the World Economic Forum(WEF), the overall gender gap based on the index called the Gender Gap Report published each year will not close until 2186.
That’s a super long time. Even with that dire report, United Nations Women (UN Women) has themed this International Women’s Day, which is less than a week away. The theme is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50–50 by 2030.” Maybe, not the political, educational, or health outcome areas, but, rather, the world of work, which continues to be an area of major concern. Even if 2186 is the fate of eventual total equality, then the piece-by-piece fitting of the equality puzzle can start with the world of work. But there are difficulties for women here too. Hardships related to the ongoing revolutions before us.
Globalisation and the digital revolution are changing the way we work, bringing big opportunities for all, but continue to present issues within the context of women’s economic empowerment. According to the UN, the gender pay gap stands at 24 cents globally, with many of these gaps appearing in leadership and entrepreneurship roles. Not to mention, the glaring gender deficit in care and domestic work.
The UN is calling for all economic policies to be gender-responsive and address job creation, poverty reduction, and growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner. It’s also pertinent, with the way human work is changing due to technology, for women to have better access to innovative technologies and practices that are good for mother nature and protect women against violence in the workplace.
International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month are important moments — a singular highlight day and an entire month — to reflect, celebrate, and declare the inherent equality of women based on human rights and women’s rights. We’ve got a long road ahead. And if you do not feel like waiting for the year 2186 to come around in your lifetime, you can always travel to Iceland. It’ll be just like time travel!