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International Women's Day 2021
Do you know the history behind International Women's Day? Celebrant Susie Roberts does and it makes for a very interesting read...
A SHORT-POTTED HISTORY.
March 8th was internationally designated as International Women’s Day in 1977, after the UN General Assembly invited their members to proclaim 8th March as Women’s Day.
The day had already been proclaimed a national holiday in Soviet Russia, after women gained suffrage in 1917, and was celebrated by the socialist countries until the UN adopted the cause in 1975.
Women were marching, chaining themselves to fences, protesting and going to jail in many countries across the world in the late 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century, protesting to be given the vote.
New Zealand was the first country to grant women the vote in 1893, however women were not allowed to stand for Parliament. In 1894, the Colony of South Australia granted women the vote, and they were allowed to stand for parliament.
Australia was another early adopter of International Women’s Day with informal celebrations in the 1920’s, with rallies and marches being held in 1928 and 1931.
During WWII, Australian activist Jesse Street, among others, championed the equal pay cause, as women were only being paid 54% for equivalent work.
In 1975, Australia’s government of the time, led by Gough Whitlam, supported a number of women’s events throughout the first International Year of Women.
The theme for 2021 is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’.
During the pandemic, women and girls globally have been adversely affected through job loss, the carrying of the household emotional workload, doing double duty with taking on the lead role of teachers whilst still trying to maintain their own work (if they were lucky enough to retain their jobs), having to pivot to new ways of creating money to feed their families, and deal with the alarming increase in domestic violence that has erupted during the pandemic.
Women need a voice at the leadership tables to address many of the issues facing them currently.
IWDA.org.au has published some shocking facts for those who still think that women’s rights are not an issue.
87,000 women are killed every year just because they are women. Of those, 50,000 are killed by their male partners or family members – and those are only the deaths we know about
111 countries have no repercussions for husbands who rape their wife
2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men
14% is the size of Australia’s gender pay gap
45 countries do not have specific laws against domestic violence
35% of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?
1. We can educate ourselves by reading widely about women’s issues and read books by women authors. Your local library is a great place to start.
2. We can attend any one of a myriad of virtual seminars being offered by IWDA, or attend any of the local rallies.
3. Shout out to your favourite female activists with the #IWD2021 hashtag.
4. Donate to your favourite feminist cause, and again IWDA has a great selection for you to
5. As a celebrant
- look at our ceremonies to ensure that they are free of the old ways (no more giving away of the bride, or “love, honour and obey”) and actively look for more inclusive ways we can write our ceremonies.
- Model our behaviour to show our commitment to non-gendered wedding ceremonies in our interviews and our ceremonies.
- Encourage the inclusion of more poetry and songs by women artists.
- If you are a female celebrant, look at your pay gap, and price your valuable services accordingly.
- Look at how we can ensure that we get equal billing with other wedding suppliers.
- Join celebrant associations (I would loudly like to give a plug for ours) and actively join in conversations and put your hand up for committee…….with new and fresh ideas and approaches to our profession, it can only blossom.
“Women’s rights are human rights!”
Thank you for the history Susie. Those statistics are frightening. And thank you to all the brave courageous women , past and present, who have worked so hard for equality.
We as women have come a long way and thank you for reminding us Susie. However, we obviously still have some way to go.
Well done and thank you Susie. The history and statistics should be known and addressed by everyone. Then we will know we are getting closer to a gender inclusive world.
A timely reminder of all the courageous women who went before us and those who still put their lives on the line every day to fight for womens rights all over the world. Now it is up to the next generation to take up the baton, raise awareness and support each other. I would add another point to your list Susie, think of joining a womens organisation like Zonta. As a proud Zontian I would recommend it. Imagine a world where women and men are truly equal.
Happy IWD. Thanks Susie for the reminders of past achievements and of the many things still needing to be done to achieve real equality between women and men