International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8 every year, this day is symbolic of the historic journey women around the world have taken to better their lives. It comes as a reminder that while a lot has been achieved, the journey is long and a lot more needs to be done.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century now. But while many people think of it as a feminist cause, its roots lie in the labour movement. It was first organised in 1911 by Clara Zetkin, the early 20th century Marxist from Germany.
Zetkin was born in 1857 in Germany’s Wiederau. She trained as a teacher, and was associated with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) – one of the two major political parties in the country today. She was a part of both the labour movement and the women’s movement.
In the 1880s, when anti-socialist laws were enforced by German leader Otto von Bismarck, Zetkin went into a self-imposed exile in Switzerland and France. During this time, she wrote and distributed proscribed literature, and met leading socialists of the time. Zetkin also played a significant role in the formation of the Socialist International.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
The year 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of climate change, and environmental and disaster risk reduction, which are some of the greatest global challenges of the twenty-first century. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.
This year’s IWD observance is in recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response, and to honour their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future.
From the point of view of climate change effects, 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.
At the same time, women and girls are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation. They are involved in sustainability initiatives around the world, and their participation and leadership results in more effective climate action.
Continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.
This International Women’s Day, let’s claim “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.