How to Build Gender Balance on International Women’s Day 2019

Celebrated in over 100 countries, March 8 is dedicated to women’s achievements.

Mar 4, 2019

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The future for women has never been brighter than in our time. The gender gap is getting smaller in many countries and women are making great strides in all fields, shattering the glass ceiling along the way. From grassroots activism in India and the Arab World to worldwide action through the UN, gender balance is something that looks achievable if we all work together.

That’s why “Balance for Better” is the theme of the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration on Friday, March 8. “Balance drives a better working world. Let’s all help create Balance for Better. Balance includes gender-balanced leadership in politics and in the working world," the event's organizers said. 

One of the ways of achieving this lofty goal is to make a pledge for parity.  Everyone – men, women, and transgender people – across the world can pledge to take concrete steps to help accelerate gender parity and develop a culture that respects differences and is more inclusive.

"Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to help include and advance women. Share amongst your friends, social networks and communities and encourage them to make a pledge as well. Together, we can accelerate the clock," the IWD website reads.

Gender Parity is linked to economic prosperity, which is why the UN has made gender parity a priority. "Gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need – and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The meaningful inclusion of women in decision-making increases effectiveness and productivity, brings new perspectives and solutions to the table, unlocks greater resources and strengthens efforts across all the three pillars of our work."

UN Women, in honor of IWD, is running Think Equal, Build, Smart, Innovate for Change, and hosting hundreds of festivals around the world. The theme will focus on innovative ways that gender equality can be advanced and the empowerment of women in social protection, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. The official commemoration event will be held at the UN headquarters in New York City on IWD.

The World Economic Forum estimates that at the current rate, gender parity, while improving, will not be achieved for 117 years. The report, Women. Fast Forward: The time for gender parity is now, offers concrete ideas on how to accelerate the 117-year projection by increasing women’s leadership roles in business and entrepreneurship, by making more career opportunities and education available to women.

The study published the results of a survey of 400 companies to identify what the biggest barrios are for women in career advancement. The findings according to IWD were: female leadership leads to stronger companies and that men are aware of the bias in the workplace, so it is possible to change that culture.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 by over a million women in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Prior to that the Socialist Party in America, Suffragettes in the UK and other groups had local women’s days.

On March 8, 2011, on the 100th anniversary of IWD, then-US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be Women’s History Month calling on Americans to commemorate "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country's history.

There will be IWD events in many cities and countries around the world including a panel discussion on Fintech and gender balance in Washington DC, SHE the power about powering women in Kanpur, India, a GW4W Accelerator event in London, UK and Advancing Women in Finance in San Francisco, California. You can find a list of international events here.

International Women's Day comes only once a year, but the 2019 Balance for Better campaigns run all year long. Collectively, we can make a huge difference and bring about a more gender-balanced world in our lifetimes.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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