Featured Whistler Question column, March 7, 2017: International Women’s Day 2017: Be Bold For Change
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual event that has celebrated the social, economic and political achievements of women for more than a century. It also shines a spotlight on the need for greater equality that still remains today. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity.
The History of International Women’s Day
In 1911, German labor leader Clara Zetkin proposed March 8th be proclaimed International Women’s Day, in recognition of U.S. women workers who led a movement for decent working conditions. Since then, the day has manifested itself in many forms. From campaigning for women’s suffrage in earlier times to equal representation in politics, and highlighting violence against females in the 21st century, the aim has been to push governments to recognize the necessity of sex and gender equality in law.
Last year, IWD’s #PledgeForParity campaign committed to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures.
2017 Theme: #BeBoldForChange
Now IWD’s 2017 theme ‘Be Bold for Change’ carries a powerful mandate to build an inclusive, gender equal world and is a call to the masses to help forge a better working world.
But the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186 and that is too long to wait. To that end, this year’s theme is encouraging everyone to Be Bold For Change on International Women’s Day and beyond by taking groundbreaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women.
This concept is based on the premise that everyone – whether male, female or non-binary people – can join forces and be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold, pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.
If anyone doubts that there is strength in numbers, the coordinated movements on the other side of our border seem to indicate otherwise. Following the January election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, massive crowds of women swarmed the streets in the national’s capital and cities around the world to send an emphatic message that they won’t let his agenda go unchallenged over the next four years.
The Opportunity for Purposeful Collaboration
IWD believes that “through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.” International Women’s Day on March 8 is as an important opportunity to:
- Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
- Declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world
International Women’s Day is a start but to accelerate closing the gender gap, we must commit to act beyond one day. With women and men joining forces and pledging to move from talk to action, we can collectively help harness the potential women offer economies around the world.
At Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers business and life coaching, workshops and the popular Whistler Open Forum Speaker Series. She is founder of Lighthouse Mentor Network, a mentor program nominated for Small Business BC Awards for 5 consecutive years. She writes this business column for the Whistler Question newspaper.