There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful on International Women’s Day. The employment rate for women is higher than ever before, women can no longer be forced to take their husband’s name, and female immigrants now get the same protection as men.
However, there’s a lot still to fight for. Last year there were more than 5,300 claims logged about sex discrimination at work, and 17,000 about equal pay. Women in Northern Ireland are also still unable to access an abortion – even in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities.
International Women’s Day is just as important as ever, so here are a few of the best articles and events marking this day across the globe.
The women’s day budget
Starting here in the UK, as well as being International Women’s Day the Government has revealed its spring budget, which includes a number of policies designed to help women. Firstly, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed an additional £20 million will be put towards tackling domestic violence.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 8, 2017
Chancellor Philip Hammond also announced that £12 million raised from taxes on tampons will go to women’s charities, and set aside £5 million to help people get back to work after a career break.
The Irish women forced to travel for an abortion
Women in Ireland and Northern Ireland are currently only allowed an abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. They cannot seek a termination in any other case – even if they have been raped, survived incest, or their foetus is suffering from a fatal abnormality.
Every day 12 Irish women are forced to travel to England for an abortion – which they have to pay for. This moving piece from Buzzfeed’s Laura Silver details the tale of a student forced to secretly make the journey. Explaining her experiences, Roisin says:
I grew very resentful that the country had made me go through this. There can’t be more Irish women like me. It was the most horrific thing to go through, it was the most awful experience and we need to stop it.
The defiant girl in front of the Wall Street Bull
Wall Street has become synonymous with financial services, wealth and even greed in America, with the New York City road becoming a phrase used world-over. The charging bull, known as the Wall Street Bull, was first placed in the city in 1989 as a symbol of financial optimism and opportunity. Now it may become a symbol of something else.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 7, 2017
State Street Global Advisors, the world’s third largest asset manager, has placed a bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of the bull, as a message to encourage more companies to put women on their boards.
“There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, but the needle hasn’t moved materially,” explained deputy global investment officer Lori Heinel. She adds that gender diversity will also help increase company performance and shareholder value.
Human rights have helped to advance gender equality
Human rights are women’s rights. They’ve helped to achieve great strides for gender equality, from allowing a women to use her own name, to protecting male and female immigrants equally.
Read the our list of just some of the human rights cases that have helped advance women’s rights, and watch and share this video explainer:
Mary Beard’s inspirational message to everyone
And finally, it’s always worth taking a few minutes to be proud of everything we have achieved so far, as well as what’s left to do. Recorded for BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, classicist Mary Beard talks about witnessing a “revolution” in women’s rights.
— BBC Radio 4 (@BBCRadio4) March 8, 2017
Want to know more about women’s rights and equality?
- Read our piece on gender equality at work – 10 reasons we should #BeBoldForChange
- Take a look at some reasons we still need to fight for equality
- See some crucial human rights cases for gender equality