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International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made towards gender equality, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary people. We need to stand together to ensure that our hard-won rights are protected and continue to strive for gender equality throughout the world. 

The United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. The theme is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere (source).

“Despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. As a result, women remain undervalued, they continue to work more, earn less, have fewer choices, and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces (source)”. 

I met this talented artisan in Guatemala in 2010. She gladly agreed to let me take a photo of her and her son.

Iceland is the country with the highest gender parity currently, at 88%. The Scandinavian countries, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany round out the top ten. The United States and Canada don’t make the top ten; North America sits at 73% in this index ranking (source).  Legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men. Women earn 23% less than men globally and occupy only 24% of parliamentary seats worldwide. One in three women still experience gender-based violence.

“Equal rights, opportunities and access to resources, equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women, and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their well-being and that of their families as well as to the consolidation of democracy.” (source)

We can each make a difference locally and globally by promoting gender equality in our homes and workplaces.

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