International Women’s Day – Be Bold for Change

By Danielle Pope

International Women’s Day – Be Bold for Change
Why this year's theme is so important for gender equality

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. Organisers are calling on participants around the world to help forge a better and more gender inclusive working world.

The world of work is changing, with significant implications for women. One one hand, technological advances and globalisation bring unprecedented opportunities for those who can access them. On the other hand, there is growing informality of labour, income inequality and humanitarian crises.

According to UN Women, these changes disproportionately affect women. Only 50 per cent of working women are represented in the labour force globally, compared to 76 per cent of men. What’s more, an overwhelming majority of women are in the “informal economy”, subsidising care and domestic work. They are also concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill occupations with little or no social protection.

The current division of women in the workforce - UN Women
The current division of women in the workforce – UN Women

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This is too long to wait. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity.

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says, “Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realise their full potential.”

In order to achieve greater parity for women in the workplace, significant changes need to be made. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says changes need to start at home, “We want to construct a different world of work for women,” she says. “We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys.”

How you can get involved 

International Women’s Day is being celebrated with events all around the world. You can also head to their website to pledge how you will #BeBoldForChange here 

Watch UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s speech for IWD below:

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