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International Women’s day: Choose to Challenge!

Jewel Karungari, a second year Strathmore Law Student.

None of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes nor likely will many of our children. According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2020, gender parity will not be attained for close to a century.

We can all play a part towards attaining this as we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) today. This year’s IWD day is to create a gender-equal world and celebrate a woman’s success while raising awareness against bias. So let us embrace this year’s theme that asks us to choose to challenge.

Back to the beginning

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century. The first campaign for change came in 1908 when over 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay as well as voting rights. In 1909, the first Women’s Day was observed across the United States. On March 19, 1911, International Women’s Day was honored for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Later, it was decided that March 8 would be the acceptable day to celebrate it globally. International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.

Did you know that..?
  1. International Women’s Day is not specific to any country, group, or organization. The day belongs to women everywhere.
  2. Purple, green, and white are the colours of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity.
  3. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
  4. Clara Zetkin, a leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany proposed the 1st International Women’s Day.
  5. International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries. For example in Italy, “La Festa Della Donna”, is celebrated by the giving of mimosa blossom flowers.
  6. In the US, the month of March is Women’s History Month and they honour the achievements of American women.

On the other hand, International Men’s Day has been celebrated on 19 November since the 1990s. It is celebrated in more than 80 countries worldwide. The day recognizes “the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities.” The theme for 2020 was “Better health for men and boys”.

As we salute the women today, may we remember what St. John Paul II once said: Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic. So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive impact. Join the conversations and make some noise on the hashtags #ChooseToChallenge; #IWD2021; #InternationalWomensDay.

 

This article was written by Annete Karanja.

 

If you have a story, kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu

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