This past 8th of March was International Women’s Day; the theme this year was #ChoosetoChallenge. This blog will see why we celebrate this day and look at the different protests around the world to remember the hardships of women who came out protesting, even under Covid restrictions. This year we need to #ChoosetoChallenge the status quo and empower women and girls alike.
How did it start and why?
International Women’s Day has existed for over 100 years in some form, but it is not before 1911 that the day, as we know it today, came to life. It was later made official by the UN in 1975. This day is a symbol of achievement for women but also assessing what more needs to be done to reach equality, which would still take over a lifetime to reach, as gender parity “will not be attained for 99,95 years”. It is thus important to celebrate the day to show light on our current conditions and empower women around the world; this year the theme is #ChoosetoChallenge which reflects on the hardships experienced due to the pandemic. Each year since 1996 has had a theme, with the first one being “celebrating the past, planning the future”. The day is marked by symbolism, with its official colours being “purple, which represents justice and dignity; green, which represents hope; and white, which symbolises purity”, these colours are rooted in the women’s suffrage movement in Britain and “The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) used these colours in their campaigning in the UK in 1908”. It is thus important to recognise the activism and symbolism attached to this day, which has been, once again, portrayed around the world.
Marches around the world
This year has been no exception with marches happening around the world, despite Covid restrictions. This year has seen record-high numbers of violence against women and girls around the world which has been shown through protests around the world.
Other protests and marches have called out various women’s rights violations, from discrimination at work, to free sanitary pads, and prejudice towards pregnant women.
This day also marks the possibility for women to effectively unify to #ChoosetoChallenge their government and its failures, which include failing to address violence against women, gender pay gaps, and access to sanitary products. However, this 8th of March, the Mexican government violated that duty, with the protest against the rise in domestic violence and more particularly femicide, resulting in violence. Police used tear gas and batons against the crowds of women and their children, resulting in four people being severely injured.
At JAN Trust we work hard to empower women; the 8th of March represents an important day for us in which we celebrate women and evaluate the improvements made in matters of women’s rights and the further improvements needed. On #IWD2021, we released a blog relating to the matter, and our CEO Sajda Mughal OBE spoke out to relate to the current issues and #ChoosetoChallenge the status quo, as she inspires us to do every day. This is a special time in which we must focus on promoting women, their businesses and offer funding to organisations like ours that fight for our rights and offer us opportunities. At JAN Trust, women can come to be empowered through ESOL classes, Fashion and Design skills lessons, and programmes on such gendered issues as FGM and Forced Marriage. The #ChoosetoChallenge motto is one that we implement in all areas of our work.
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If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999. If you can’t talk press 55 when prompted, the operator will stay on the line with you.
Refuge: run a freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 refuge.org.uk
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