Pledge for Parity: International Women’s Day

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UN Women / Ryan Brown

International Women’s Day (IWD) was on March 8th, 2016 and celebrated the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Pledge for Parity, or equity, was this year’s IWD theme.

Pledging for Parity meant promising  to respect and value differences and to recognize and promote achievements of women. This pledge offered a stepping stone towards achieving gender equality.

To bring awareness to the need for gender equality, leading voices of women around the globe stepped up to speak about the issue of equality in today’s day and age. United Nations Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke about the UN’s 2030 Agenda, a set of goals for global development that includes the empowerment of women worldwide.

“The participation of women at all levels and the strengthening of the women’s movement has never been so critical, working together with boys and men, to empower nations, build stronger economies and healthier societies,” emphasized Mlambo-Ngcuka. “It is the key to making Agenda 2030 transformational and inclusive.”

Google’s “One Day I Will” Campaign featured a video of women from around the world who expressed their aspirations for the future. The girls interviewed by Google ranged from a young girl in Bangkok to the youngest Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Despite the optimistic outlooks of women worldwide and UN Women, women are far from the elusive gender equality they seek.

“The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity,” detailed the official International Women’s Day website. “Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.”

The fight for gender parity is one that has been fought throughout history and one that does not look to end any time soon. Yet, this fact cannot deter everyone from continuing to fight nonetheless. The projected years until gender equality is reached are astounding numbers. However, the gap can be closed even more quickly if everyone does a single part in advocating parity.

Schools can empower women by inviting guest speakers such as women’s rights advocates to ensure young girls understand their potential in the world. Speaking events do not only have to be limited to schools. Communities can also hold speaking events and fairs to bring awareness to gender equity.

Individually, women should own their own value and realize their own greatness and potential. Collectively, women should encourage other women to take risks and chase leadership positions in schools, communities, and work.

By doing so, everyone can push the world into a different age — an age in which everyone can contribute and reach their highest potential, regardless of gender. International Women’s Day is a reminder of this very tangible future.

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