International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s achievements in all aspects of life: politically, socially, economically, technologically, environmentally and so on. As a society, we have come so far in gaining the recognition and opportunities that we deserve, but we still have a long way to go.

Every year there is a theme to go along with this day to bring awareness to something that is greatly impacting women. This year, there are two major themes. The theme this year according to the UN is: “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” While on the International Women’s Day (IWD) website, they list the theme as being: “Break the Bias”. Both themes are equally important, however, you may be wondering why there are two. 

Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

The UN is looking at the global scale. According to them, “Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.” 

Women are leaders in food production yet own less than 10% of the land, are more likely to be displaced by natural disasters, and climate change has a more drastic impact on women’s reproductive cycles and overall health. This may also lead to an increase in gender-based violence and child marriages. 

So, what can we do about this? Well, the answer may lie in our second theme.

Break the Bias

IWD is a western organization looking primarily at gender-based issues faced by those in the west. However, it is important to note that many of the problems listed above are due to stereotyping and gender bias. According to IWD “Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.”

So, more than just celebrating women, what actions can we take to ensure that we continue making progress? We can call out gender bias when it is happening, we can educate those who are ignorant, and we can lead in dispelling bias. Make ourselves the example of how strong we are. Every day we need to ensure that we are doing this, not just one day a year. 

What is one thing you can do this week to break the bias?

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength”

G.D. Anderson