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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Hamilton

International Women's Day 2023

8th March 2023 marks International Women’s Day, a global movement to celebrate women and their accomplishments, both past and present. The day falls during Women’s History Month, which raises awareness for gender disparities and discrimination, and celebrates the vital and underappreciated role of women in history.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. The chosen theme highlights the important distinction between equality and equity and was selected in the hopes of promoting more radical and inclusive feminist conversation.

What is the difference between equality and equity?

In a feminist context, gender equity goes above and beyond equality. Gender equality as a concept is simply focused on providing men and women with the same opportunities. An example of this is the pursuit of all women and girls around the world to legally be able to attend some form of schooling. Whereas gender equity recognises the need to go further. Equity acknowledges obstacles that women and girls face as a result of historical wrongs.

Men and women have different needs because of disparities in social and cultural treatment and the aim of International Women’s Day this year is to get people talking about ‘why equal opportunities aren’t enough’. Equity opens up the conversation; it's not just about getting girls into schools for example, it's about how they are treated and supported while they are there so that they can flourish.

This is just one way in which more radical inclusivity and action are required, but gender equity as a concept is one that needs to be applied across the board. Another example is the issue of sexual violence and rape culture which persists despite outlawing. Gender equity argues that the law is not enough and doesn’t prevent such atrocities from existing. Gender equity pursues more extensive measures to ensure the safety and security of women and girls, such as tackling misogyny in institutions such as the police force.

How should we celebrate International Women’s Day?

You might be thinking, that sounds great but what does any of it have to do with me? The IWD website talks of how we all have an obligation in our own social spheres to #EmbraceEquity, which means challenging gender stereotypes and calling out discrimination. Gender is not a barrier to celebrating International Women’s Day and truly embracing gender equity requires everyone to get on board.

Here are some of the ways I will be celebrating International Women’s Day:

- Acknowledging the amazing women in my life and their achievements

- Challenging the messages I have internalised about my role in society, my body, and what I think I am capable of

- Reflecting on how I can be more inclusive of the women around me and how I can empower and uplift them

- Talking a lot about women’s issues and definitely getting political…

Although International Women’s Day only happens once a year, these should be ideas that we carry with us daily, because that is how often women face discrimination and prejudice. While celebrating the women around you, remember that it is okay if you do not feel like you have any accomplishments to celebrate. Existing in a world that was moulded in the image of your oppression, is the ultimate achievement.

P.S. This is your reminder to find a man to pay for your dinner tonight because we still make 80p to every pound they make globally (just kidding!)


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