International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the contribution of women in various arenas and to raise awareness about gender equality and advocate for women ́s rights. The official International Women’s Day theme for this year (2021) is #ChooseToChallenge. What do you choose to challenge?
Around the world, an issue that has greatly impacted women is COVID-19. It has been approximately one year since the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and it has greatly exposed and deepened pre-existing inequalities, and the weaknesses in social, political and economic systems. As former Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston puts it “Far from being the ‘great leveler’, COVID-19 is a pandemic of poverty, exposing the parlous state of social safety nets for those on lower incomes or in poverty around the world.” For matters on gender equality and women ́s rights it hasn ́t been an exception. According to this UN report, across the board women and girls are disproportionally affected by COVID-19, and this limits and undermines the progress that has been made in past years.
Progress isn ́t a straight path, and it ́s one that is long and challenging. Multiple things can be true at the same time; we can have more women in positions of leadership and also be dealing with gender-based violence against women. And on a day like this where companies and organizations demonstrate glowing statistics about inclusion, female leadership etc. we must be honest about the realities of living as women.
There is domestic violence, sexual harassment, human trafficking, overall rape culture which has been fabulously chronicled by #MeToo. We can speak of period poverty or reproductive rights or discrimination and bias in the workplace, lack of employment opportunities and the gender pay gap. There are so many factors and issues that can be brought up about how we navigate public and private life.
If we really look, it can quickly seem like this day is empty speech. But it is important to mark and celebrate what has been achieved. Thus, we salute all the women who do the work of moving the agenda forward towards a world that is better for women. But as we laud women for their strength, power and resilience we must labor to create a world where women do not have to fight to be treated with dignity and afforded human rights.
How can you participate? What are the contributions you can make? What should you demand from people in positions of power? What world do you want to live in? What are you challenging? We want to leave you with these reflections.
Here at Organic Beauty, we are launching an Intense Hair Growth Serum and have decided to do a giveaway. We invite you to nominate a woman who challenges you or who you think is challenging the world around them through the roles they play; nominate a sister, cousin, friend, neighbor, community organizer... your call. 3 winners will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, 15th March 2021. Head over to our Instagram Page for all the details. Good luck!