As the world marked the observance of International Women’s Day today with women’s rights and gender equality issues topping the agenda for many, world leaders have pledged to completely eradicate gender discrimination by accelerating concerted measures needed to close the gender gap perpetually. According to a UN report, more than “90 Member States” have collectively pledged to undertake concrete measures against “fundamental barriers” that continue to impede the advancement towards gender parity in their respective countries.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day has been titled “Pledge For Parity.” It underscores the importance of recognizing universal education and advocacy for women as well as ensuring the intended goals are realized. However, despite concerted initiatives to pave the way for progress towards women’s empowerment across the spectrum, the world is yet to make deeper strides into eradicating the gender gap altogether. According to recent World Economic Forum (WEF) projections, the global gender gap would not be closed entirely until 2133, given the evident lack of success in collectively addressing the issue.
The other aspect of this year’s theme is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” This initiative aims to achieve absolute gender parity and empowerment of women by the year 2030. More specifically, it aims to address the underlying causes leading to gender discrimination in communities where the gender gap is increasingly apparent.
According to a new report prepared by the United Nations International Labour Organization, millions of women are kept continuously deprived of their right to equal participation in the world of work in many regions. Women are also known to be unfairly employed for longer working hours compared to men, in both paid as well as unpaid occupations. Furthermore, in several other communities, women continue to be oppressed and forcefully coerced into carrying out unpaid household work, often over extensively long periods of time, compared to men.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has urged world leaders to mark International Women’s Day with a pledge to embark upon the “Step It Up” campaign with vigorous participation and greater political will in order to successfully achieve the gender equality development goal by the year 2030.
“I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls, but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement. Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers.”
The “Global Goals for Sustainable Development” target for 2030 is aimed at eradicating of all forms of discrimination, abuse, and violence directed against women and girls, ensuring that girls and boys acquire equal access to quality education and guaranteeing women’s equal, absolute and purposeful representation as well as direct participation in mainstream affairs of the local community as well as the broader social fabric of society.
Celebrated for the first time in 1911 with countries including Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany participating, International Women’s Day dates back to 1909, when nearly 15,000 American women protested against horrid working conditions, poor compensation and lack of voting rights while marching through the streets of New York City. The event referred to as National Women’s Day back then began to be recognized as International Women’s Day two years later. It continues to be observed as a national holiday in more than 25 countries across the world.
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