International women’s day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regards to national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political differences. International women day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.
As we mark the 2019 International Women Day, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) as a media development organization salutes the doggedness of women in the media especially African media; their role in the media cannot go unnoticed as women continue to rise not just as presenters, broadcasters but as field reporters, investigative reporters and Editors. As we consider the theme Balance for Better, AMDF looks forward to a media where women have equal opportunities to serve as Media Executives.
Since early years, international women’s day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global united nation women’s conferences, has helped made the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s right and participation in the political and economic arenas.
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements.
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, and government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.
The international women’s day is celebrated annually on March 8 and with different theme each year to mark the day. In 2019, the theme Balance for better is calling out to all for a collective action towards driving a gendered balance world.