Monday 8 March 2021 marks International Women's Day (IWD), a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Thousands of events and activities are organised across the world, as groups come together to celebrate and recognise women's achievements and rally for women's equality. This is an annual celebration that commemorates the history and achievements of women, and aims to raise awareness about women's equality, and ‘a call to action for accelerating gender parity’.
Raising awareness about women's equality is crucial. This year IWD is being celebrated against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Government Select Committee Report found that ‘inequality problems have been made worse for many women during the pandemic’ and that ‘gender disparities were ignored’. In light of this, the International Women’s Day theme this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’, highlighting the importance of being ‘alert and questioning discriminative behaviours to strive for change and achieve equality’.
To further showcase and celebrate women’s efforts and key contributions to society, the UN women’s theme for IWD this year is ‘Women in Leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’. The theme aims to celebrate the critical role of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future, and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The importance of women’s contributions, as health care workers, care givers, innovators, community organisers, and national leaders has come to the fore, as the burdens that women carry and the barriers they face are further exposed.
Whilst most of the countries that have been more successful and effective in their response to the pandemic are headed by women, the violence and abuse against them has increased exponentially, as well as unemployment and poverty amongst women and girls.
CACT recognises that achieving gender equality requires hard work and commitment, and for us to be honest with ourselves and each other; it requires us to meaningfully engage and connect, and to reach out and listen, to all staff and to all participants. We are committed to tackling inequality, as well as recognising the outstanding contributions that Women continue to make to the work we deliver.