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Women & Men, Arm In Arm

11 March 2019

Over the last 100 years, women’s rights have come a long way. More women and girls, across the globe, have basic human rights such as, education, freedom from violence, equal employment and a right to vote, amongst other factors. However, this is sadly not the case across all countries and in all cultures. There is still some progression to come in the way of extending these human rights to all women.

International Woman’s Day (IWD) each year allows the world to compare how far we have come in the story of women’s struggle for equality since 1911 – the year of its inception. It is a non-country or organisation specific celebration of the contribution women give socially, economically and politically on a domestic and international scale. IWD therefore holds to a level of fluidity that is essential for progression, as the meaning can be altered year-on-year, as the fight for equality advances.

The fluidity of IWD is genius, as exemplified through the ‘theme’ of this years IWD being #BalanceForBetter.

The aim of #BalanceForBetter is to understand that this fight cannot be solely won by, and for, women; it must encapsulate the presence and action of men too. Getting men’s support for the fight would pave the way to achieving gender equality. Without this, we will be stuck in a limbo of gender Vs gender… which will get us nowhere.

As Gloria Steinem, the political activist, put: “the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”.

Ipos Moris conducted a study in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London. The study found that, despite 1/3 of British men thinking that they are expected to do far too much in support for women’s equality, 3 in 5 men in Britain agreed that gender equality won’t be achieved unless they take action to support women’s rights.

The groundwork is already there, it simply must be expanded and advocated.

We must celebrate the achievements in the fight for equality that have occurred over the past 100 years.

Women now make up 29% of the FTSE 100 boards, with 9.7% of these being Women Executive Directors. Women in Saudi Arabia can now drive legally. Voters in Ireland struck down a draconian abortion ban. Women broke records in the mid-term elections in the US. The Nobel Peace Prize was jointly to Denis Mukwege (a Congolese surgeon who treats rape victims) and Nadia Murad (an Iraqi woman and a member of the Yazidi religious minority who was captured by ISIS. The #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns took the world by storm…

The. List. Goes. On.

The world has witnessed an attitudinal shift toward women’s rights that has normalised the fact that women are worthy enough to share the same liberties that men have enjoyed freely for centuries.

BUT, men need to play a vital part in this journey. We need to work together, to enjoy the freedom of opportunity together.

#BalanceForBetter 

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