It is BARELY conceivable.
Just take a moment to read the following:-
According to the World Economic Forum, it could still take another 100 years before the global equality gap between men and women disappears entirely.
Yes, you read that right.
March4Women in London last year Credit: Paul Grover
And, if that wasn’t shocking enough, here’s another:
In 2017, women worked “for free” for 51 days of the year because of the gender pay gap.
And, finally, just for good measure:
Women are paid less than half than their male counterparts at some of Britain’s major companies.
Which succinctly answers the question:
Do we even need International Women’s Day?
Depressingly, the movement's original aim to achieve full world-wide gender equality for women has STILL not been realised. A gender pay gap persists and women are still under-represented in all the professions.
Furthermore, figures show that globally, women’s education and health-care provision is still inferior to that of men.
So what exactly is International Women’s Day and what are its origins?
The recent Telegraph article, "International Women's Day 2018: How the day began and why the fight for women's rights is still necessary" provides an extremely good overview. In essence, International Women’s Day or, IWD, is a day when the world is forced to sit up and take notice of the inequalities and injustices women face.
But International Women's Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those women who have risen up despite adversity. Think Malala Yousafzai. Think Oprah Winfrey. A day to recognise the women who, despite adversity, have become successful in all spheres of life. From the political to the social.
IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognised each year on March 8. It is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together governments, organisations, corporations and charities. International Women's Day is observed around the world with talks, lectures, demonstrations and conferences.
With every year, IWD gains more and more support. In 2017, women's rights dominated the news and International Women's Day became even more significant. A powerful momentum gathered against the sexual abuse and misconduct endemic in certain industries, particularly film and entertainment. The #MeToo movement was born. This gave a platform to the many thousands of women who have been subjected to abuse in all its ugly forms.
And this, in turn, gave a voice to, and led to the emergence of, other groups such as the sexual harassment group #TimesUp.
The White Rose
You may have noticed that performers at this year’s BRITS were carrying/wearing a white rose. This was a symbol of solidarity with #TimesUp. The protest was organised by music executives Meg Markins and Karen Rait. They penned an open letter to music stars before the event:
"We choose the white rose because historically it stands for hope, peace, sympathy and resistance. The world is listening. Wear a white rose."
Holly Willoughby with a white rose.
And gender inequality was also brought into sharp focus recently with the the resignation of journalist Carrie Gracie. Ms Gracie gave up her job as China editor over unequal pay. At the BBC!
What is clear from this is that there is a very strong and growing demand for global gender parity.
The Suffragette Movement
This year's International Women's Movement is likely to be even more significant as it marks an important suffragette centenary, too.
It is 100 years since women were given the right to vote in the UK when, on February 6, 1918, the People’s Representation Act enfranchised women over the age of 30 who owned a house.
The Women at Scarf Room
As a principally all-women team, we support women’s rights for equal pay and equality in all areas of life. Furthermore, we applaud the increasingly influential collective voice of IWD.
As most of you, our lovely Scarf Room customers, are female, we would also love to hear your thoughts on this important issue.
We shall be wearing our white rose with pride on 8 March 2018. Will you?