International Women’s Day: #IWD Celebrates, But Gender Inequality Persists

International Women's Day: #IWD Celebrates, But Gender Inequality Persists

International Women’s Day was first commemorated when American women demanded the right to vote in the United States. Now, International Women’s Day celebrates the accomplishments of women while pointing to the work needing to be done throughout the world.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, President Obama recently signed an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act. Women in the US military are even being allowed to apply for combat position in the US military.

Shailaja Chandra, the first woman Chief Secretary of Delhi, India, said that International Women’s Day makes her remember the people who helped her during her life: “As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us remember those who had a hand in making us the women we are today. It is time to give credit to one’s parents, siblings, husbands, bosses and colleagues who made that possible.”

Laura Bush is celebrating International Women’s Day by pointing to the work being done in other nations:

“International Women’s Day was first celebrated 100 years ago Friday. When the commemorations began, American women were demanding the right to vote. Leading female voices in the U.S. and abroad were also championing women’s rights and equal opportunity for women everywhere. Today, women’s roles have been transformed. Women serve as heads of state and Cabinet secretaries, as Supreme Court justices and U.S. senators, as corporate executives and entrepreneurs.

“The success and progress of free societies depends on the participation of all citizens, men and women. A century of progress has shown us that when you educate and empower women, you improve nearly every other aspect of society. As the great Egyptian poet Hafez Ibrahim said, ‘When you educate a woman, you create a nation.’ “

Women on Twitter are using the hash tag #IWD to mark International Women’s Day:

The writers of the Washington Post apparently feel that International Women’s Day is a prime target for sarcasm:

“At 11 there’s a big parade organized downtown to commemorate those lost in the War on Women, to be followed by a tribute to those still stationed overseas in the Mommy Wars. … The tour bus picks up at 8; if you want to see the Special Place in Hell For Women Who Don’t Help Other Women, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can give you a guided tour. … The ritualized Burning of the Bras takes place at 4 p.m. ET.”

In America, the last remaining hurdle to gender inequality is the marked difference in pay. Studies show that much of the gender salary gap is caused by women being much more likely to enter lower-paying career fields. But, when they compared men and women making the same career choices, they still find that a seven percent pay gap persists. Researchers claim that evidence suggests women approach salary negotiations differently from men.

Labor survey data suggests that women are eight times less likely to engage in salary negotiations and in lab experiments were nine times less likely to ask for higher compensation compared to men. They believe that this willingness to initiate salary negotiations, or lack thereof, potentially explains a significant fraction of the observed gender differences in wages. Combined together, these two studies might explain the majority of the unequal pay that women have noticed.

So International Women’s Day might be a day to raise awareness of the gender salary gap and how it might be resolved. The studies also show that this behavior is not universal throughout the United States, so it’s possible that through training or classes women could learn to negotiate salaries better. (I’m sure men would be in those classes, as well!)

How are you celebrating International Women’s Day?