International Women’s Day 2022

Today we will be celebrating International Women’s Day, a day that honours women from all walks of life! Throughout history, whether it is socially, economically, culturally, or politically, women have faced oppression in all environments. This day celebrates the successes of women globally, overcoming the hurdles placed against them, and achieving their goals despite the many who are against them.

Women in history

Throughout history, women have always been objectified, treated as if they were property by their fathers and husbands. This perspective of women is why dowries were a typical marriage tradition (and scarily still is in many countries), with many daughters being ‘sold’ to their husbands for a large sum of money. They were treated as second-class citizens to men, expected to fit society’s expectations of what it meant to be a lady. Politically, women were not allowed to vote or voice their own opinions on political matters since men’s opinions were considered important regarding politics. Women were not allowed to work certain jobs, such as politicians, doctors, lawyers, and even schoolteachers as these were considered leadership and intelligent roles, traits that only men could possibly have.

As time passed, some of these barriers were removed, however the sexism that women faced was still clear as ever. In the UK, women were finally given the right to vote in 1918, however it is important to remember that only women over 30 who owned property could vote. This still left a large portion of women without the power to stand up for themselves. Laws such as the ‘Marriage Bar’ were put in place to stop married women from working for the civil service, only being abolished in 1973. Although women began moving into the workplace following World War II, there was still a strict gender gap between roles and wages, with women taking on more domestic jobs such as nurses, cleaners, and secretaries for a much lower salary. To make matters worse, women were routinely sacked once they got married or became pregnant

Even in 2022, women from all over the world still don’t have the same rights as men, with massive issues such as child marriages, sexual assault, and lack of access to education existing in different countries. West and Central Africa have the highest number of child marriages, with 37% of women aged between 20-24 being married before the age of 18. Regarding sexual assault, Botswana and Australia take the top spots for cases with rates of 92% and 91%. UNESCO estimates that around 129 millions girls are out of education, with many different factors contributing to this such as poverty, social attitudes, and child marriages.

It’s important that we acknowledge these inequalities that women have faced (and still do today) so we can fight back against the system to create a world where everyone can be equal and free of biasness, oppression, and stereotypes!

Celebrating the milestones

Women have accomplished lots of amazing things even when the whole world was against them, so I want to highlight some key figures to keep in the theme for International Women’s Day!

  • Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) was a pioneer for women in science, not only discovering multiple cures for diseases and founding the study of radioactivity but becoming the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person to win a second time. She constantly fought against the harsh discrimination she faced as a woman and an immigrant and is still regarded as one of the most well-respected scientists today.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1958 – 1928) and Emily Davison (1872 – 1913) were known for her activism for women’s rights, notably the Suffragette Movement. Their dedication to the movement saw them face imprisonment and starvation, with Emily ultimately putting her life on the line by throwing herself in front of a horse at the Epsom Racecourse to raise awareness.
  • Malala Yousafzai (born in 1997) is a Pakistani activist who, at the age of just 15, was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking against the banning of girls in schools. Becoming the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize at 17, she now campaigns for the rights to education for girls all over the world.
  • Kamala Harris (born in 1964) is the first woman, Black and Asian American to hold the position of Vice-President, was the first Indian American to hold a position in the U.S. Senate, and is the highest-ranking elected female official in U.S. history.

These are just a few examples of brilliant women who broke the barriers of biasness and believe me when I tell you the list goes on and on. International Women’s Day is about celebrating achievements by women and spreading awareness of women’s equality, so it’s important that everyone joins together to support this cause!

For more information on International Women’s Day, visit their website here.

Written by Jazz Trigg.