The theme of this year’s IWD, Collective Individualism, is an important one. Let’s use the message to be kind and supportive to each other, for a fairer society in which we all flourish.
This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), fell on Sunday 8 March. It was marked by a series of events around the world celebrating the social, political and economic achievements of women. One of this year’s objectives was #EachforEqual, and although the day may have ended, it is a campaign which will run throughout the year.
There is much to celebrate in the increased focus on women’s rights in recent years. The #MeToo movement has shown just how powerful women can be when they unite and speak up for themselves.
Women’s rights are something that NCT founder, Prunella Briance, fought for when she founded our charity in 1956. After suffering the tragic death of her baby during childbirth, she set out to empower women with knowledge.
She did this by creating NCT to inform women about childbirth, and prepare them both practically and emotionally. Our thriving membership and incredible army of volunteers is testament to the fact that this mission is as important today as it has ever been.
25% of people in the UK hold two or more gender biases
Yet there is still much work to be done. Shockingly, a United Nations report released ahead of International Women’s Day showed that nearly 90% of the world’s population are biased against women.
Sadly, the report that found that in the UK, 54.6% of the population – men and women – held at least one gender bias. What’s more, 25% of people in the UK hold two or more gender biases.
The study looked at data from 75 countries worldwide, and found that around half of the world’s population thought that men would make better political leaders, and 40% think men are more entitled to business jobs.
Appallingly, almost 30% of the global poll found it justifiable for men to be violent towards women. Clearly this is not acceptable. Gender equality benefits us all, as with it, economies and communities can flourish and be more productive.
The notion of ‘Collective Individualism’ behind this year’s IWD theme is rooted in the fact that we are parts of a whole, and our collective acts impact on all of society.
Perhaps one of the most important and relevant ways we could use this collective power is through kindness. Even small everyday things that we can do, from being kinder to each other on social media to looking out for our friends and colleagues, makes a big difference. Recent high-profile events, including the tragic death of Caroline Flack and the decision of Meghan and Harry to step back from Royal duties, show that everybody, no matter what their status, deserves our compassion and support.
Gloria Steinem, a feminist and activist, once said: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
So let’s do whatever we can to make a positive change for women – and carry it on throughout the year.