The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinem, journalist and activist.

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, and throughout the year, we unite to roar for meaningful change, to celebrate courage and to #ChooseToChallenge gender inequality and bias, and to continue to fight for true inclusivity.

Every year, the 8th March is a day dedicated to recognising and championing women all around the world. It is a day to mark the importance of what it means to be a woman in 2021. All our lovable imperfections, our feelings of not being good enough, and the bias and inequality that we live through! We’re on a mission to shout as loud as we can: We embrace our selves fully. We matter. We are worthy of everything we want and need. We are fucking awesome – and no one is going to tell us otherwise!

Us. The Women. We are complex, creative, courageous and full human beings. We rant, we cry, we laugh, we screw up, we break, we fall down, and we rise. We fart, we burp, we have piles and we do all the ‘unladylike’ stuff we’re made to feel we shouldn’t! Well, we’re here to say that ‘ladylike’ is not a thing! We’re all people. And we’re all here. Living this big crazy thing called life, together. So let’s be kind, let’s empower and champion each other—not mock, silence or condemn us for simply living our lives as the people we are!

In 1911, over 100 years ago, the very first International Women’s Day (IWD) took place. It was supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all of us, collectively, everywhere — all around the globe. It always should have been, but NOW is our time.

Covid-19 Pandemic: Immeasurable and Unimaginable Change

Since the last IWD celebrations, in the past 12 months, the world has transformed, as we have suffered the tragic and far-reaching consequences of Covid-19. It has been a year like no other. A year like none of us has ever experienced. And one that has brought the basic needs for compassion, empathy, equality and unity roaring louder than ever before.

UN Women data has revealed that the coronavirus pandemic could eradicate 25 years of increasing gender equality.

“Gender parity will not be attained for almost a century,” the World Economic Forum shared. “None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children,” it adds.

All around the world, amid the pandemic, girls and women are facing excruciating mental health struggles, poverty, and are suffering unimaginable domestic violence and the reoccurring impact of trauma in the one place we must now be, our homes. But our homes are not safe places, not for all of us. 

As a recent article exploring Women’s Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic and the impact of mental health struggles, pregnancy, poverty, domestic violence and violence against children during the pandemic, urges: “We should consider this pandemic as an opportunity to build better, stronger, more resilient societies that could bring relief as well as hope to all women on earth.” 

This year’s IWD may look a little different, with many worldwide activities taking place virtually, but its aims remain the same. Now, more than ever, the spirit of unity, collective action and calls for meaningful change stand strong. It is a day to stand together, celebrate this opportunity and embark on the work to create a fairer and brighter future for all women.  

The 8th March is a day to recognise and champion the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women — while also being a call to action to continue to fight for true equality and inclusivity. And in doing so, choosing to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.

But, our commitment, efforts and courage do not end today on IWD, 8th March. The 2021 #ChooseToChallenge campaign is here throughout the year, encouraging us to support it and take action.

#ChooseToChallenge

The IWD 2021 theme of #ChooseToChallenge centres our international efforts on choosing to challenge — as a challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions  — all day, every day. From challenge comes change, so its message is simple: Let’s all choose to challenge.

As the IWD website on this year’s theme puts so eloquently: “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

Today, this year, and ongoing in the future, it is our mission to work towards creating a truly inclusive world for all of us. A world that eliminates gender bias inequality. A world that encourages women to embrace challenges. A world that inspires and empowers women to choose their own thoughts to base their decisions and actions on, and create change.

Today, all around the globe, individuals, charities and businesses are putting on a whole variety of virtual events. It is here that opportunities to start and continue conversations on how we can eliminate gender bias and inequality to create an inclusive world will help shape ongoing discussions and actions. From work, health, parenthood, relationships, and identity — IWD 2021 provides an international platform and forum to voice our demands for true gender equality and inclusivity, and the removal of bias. 

We can all work together to help forge a gender-equal world. Through uniting and taking action, we will celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, create true inclusivity, and help progress towards a truly equal world.  

Engaging in celebrations and taking action against inequality and to promote women empowerment, the IWD is encouraging all of us to: 

Women’s equality cannot wait. Its time is now. It’s for everyone to think about and take action to ensure meaningful change occurs, bias is removed, and true inclusivity is achieved. Let’s all #ChooseToChallenge. And let’s make International Women’s Day 2021 a positive and progressive time in history we won’t forget.