International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do

Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day recognises and applauds women’s achievements and highlights gender inequalities, writes Tasmia Akkas.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2012: International Women’s Day 2012

 

Tasmia Akkas is the Young Fabians women’s coordinator

Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day recognises and applauds women’s achievements and highlights gender inequalities.

The World Economic Forum has identified that eighty-five per cent of countries have improved conditions for women over the past six years. Although this is a reason to celebrate, politically and economically women still have challenges ahead. One hundred and one years since the first International Women’s Day much has been achieved but inequality continues to exist.


We can celebrate that Iceland has the greatest equality between men and women, taking into account politics, education, employment and health indicators. For women in Lesotho 95 per cent of women are able to read and write, compared with 83 per cent of men. Thailand has the greatest percentage of women in senior management (45 per cent). These are all examples of the achievements that women should be proud of.

These have been hard-won victories but we cannot be complacent about the global differences in equality for women and the challenges that many face around the globe in championing women’s rights.

In Afghanistan a woman is 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from bombs or bullets while in Norway only one in 76,000 women suffer from maternal mortality. Greek figures show only one in 31,800 women die as a result of childbirth, a stark contrast to Sudan where there are only 20 midwives in the whole country. Women are dying unnecessarily during pregnancy.

With so few women dying in the developed world, why is it so different in Sudan and Afghanistan?

Understanding the issues affecting women is vital to ensure the next International Women’s Day will be an even bigger success, marking real progress year on year. Analysing and tackling the typical gender views around women, limited resources for women at work and at home, and poverty and literary rates are all challenges we face today.

At home we need to tackle the disparity of wages, the ‘glass ceiling’ at senior levels and the assumption that women cannot have a career and a family. Women left solely to care for elderly parents or young children face a lack of support and understanding. Society can be be timid in looking at how traditional cultural or religious backgrounds can hold back a woman.

A first step must surely be to tackle the huge inequality in political representation women have, at home as much as abroad. The under-representation of women in a democratic society undermines the very point of representative democracy and makes it hard for the UK to lecture other countries on inequality.

Implementing change that ensures women are able to effectively participate and become active members of society is not easy. Issues facing women are diverse; a lot more needs to be done. Change is a process that is based on local knowledge that takes time. Communication and understanding of what women need and want ensure change can happen.

This International Women’s Day we should embrace our accomplishments but be ever mindful that women across the world continue to suffer disproportionately from poverty, vulnerability and exclusion. Today is about reflecting on how far we have come, looking at the present obstacles facing women and aiming for an equal future.

See also:

New OECD data shows how far Britain lags behind in women’s boardroom representationShamik Das, March 5th 2012

Women’s representation in movies: Not half good enoughDaniel Elton, December 28th 2011

The lack of women in Westminster has gone on for too longNan Sloane, October 25th 2011

Osborne’s mini-budget takes £1.7bn from womenAlex Hern, December 1st 2011

Poll shows widespread sexism; Mail says: “Women declare sexism dead”Daniel Elton, March 8th 2011

Why is there such little coverage of women’s sport?Shamik Das, January 24th 2011

Gender inequality: Women still earn 20% less than menShamik Das, March 8th 2010

23 Responses to “International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do”

  1. Vicki Evans

    International #WomensDay: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do, writes @YoungFabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/9ZYO1jp9

  2. Stefania Rulli-Gibbs

    International #WomensDay: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do, writes @YoungFabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/9ZYO1jp9

  3. Jez Fredenburgh

    International #WomensDay: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do, writes @YoungFabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/9ZYO1jp9

  4. Natasha Cody

    International #WomensDay: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do, writes @YoungFabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/9ZYO1jp9

  5. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do http://t.co/1Fd8esqj

  6. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to… http://t.co/oltGWnzD

  7. Cat

    Buongiorno. #FestaDellaDonna http://t.co/143G2A0x

  8. Valerie

    #UK : International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do http://t.co/1Fd8esqj

  9. Roger Mitchell

    RT @leftfootfwd: International #WomensDay: Can’t be complacent, a lot still to do, writes @youngfabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/dAwu6rrH

  10. Pulp Ark

    International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent,… http://t.co/LcUGx0hu #Good_Society #Equality #fairness #freedom #muslim #tcot #sioa

  11. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do http://t.co/IHS4uRaL

  12. Ali Kirk

    International #WomensDay: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do, writes @YoungFabians’ @tizzybelle: http://t.co/9ZYO1jp9

  13. Tasmia Akkas

    Check out my thoughts on #internationalwomen'sday hre http://t.co/l1y1f2dI @leftfootfwd @youngfabians

  14. BevR

    International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, http://t.co/Hst2xHca #wrb #spartacusreport #boycottworkfare #nhs #democracy #IWD

  15. Luke Boga Mitchell

    "in Lesotho 95% cent of women able to read and write" http://t.co/gLzlY4U3, though 40% of pop below poverty line http://t.co/C7LRSRew

  16. Mark Howard

    RT @leftfootfwd: International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, http://t.co/xGVA6De5

  17. PimlicoMigrant

    Time to acknowledge and reward women under the radar – migrant and refugee women. Today we are celebrating IWD at the Southbank with the Migrant and Refugee Woman of the Year Award created to recognise commitment and contribution of these to their communities and to British society. There is so much behind us and so much more to achieve to improve the status of women in this society. Join the celebration!

  18. The coalition are turning the clock back for vulnerable women | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do – Tasmia Akkas, March 8th […]

  19. On Intenational Women’s Day, finally some progress on coverage of women’s sport | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • International Women’s Day: We can’t be complacent, there’s a lot still to do – Tasmia Akkas, March 8th […]

  20. Alison

    Thanks for keeping the flame burning and writing an informed article.

  21. Mr. Sensible

    I entirely agree. Progress, but still more to do.

  22. Look Left – Spotlight shone on legal aid cuts as Clarke urged to think again | Left Foot Forward

    […] yesterday on Left Foot Forward, Tasmia Akkas of the Young Fabians looked at the challenges ahead, at home and abroad; and George Readings reported on No Man’s Land, a book documenting the […]

  23. Too many women incarcerated in El Savador for suffering miscarriages | Left Foot Forward

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