This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world
.” The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future
, including an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every year on March 8, the International Women’s Day is commemorated. What do women think about this famous anniversary, first honored 1911 in European countries? As I cannot speak for other women, I share with you my personal reflections on this special day, bringing in a developmental perspective.
International Women’s Day is always an occasion to celebrate strong women and an important day in the global calendar to highlight the gender injustices still lingering in every part of the world.
International Women's Day pays tribute to the achievements of women worldwide and reminds us what still needs to be done for full gender equality. In 2021, we are taking stock of the many ways in which COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women and girls around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic (henceforth pandemic) has women particularly hard. In almost all countries, women constitute the bulk of the labour force in the service sector, which was hardest hit by the pandemic. Furthermore, they also represent a disproportionate share of the work force in particularly vulnerable sectors such as health care. Women also have disproportionate if not sole responsibility for home work including taking care of children.
The greatest danger to the effectiveness of International Women’s Day is that it has become respectable. It is time for it to be day of good trouble again.
As a member of the second wave of the feminist movement who were also the first generation of women to receive positions of leadership, I recall the prejudices and biases that framed our experience. Women rarely were put in charge of “hard” core issues, only what were termed “soft” ones in keeping with their role as nurturer and carer. When they were present in the Board room, they were often silent. When they spoke, they were inevitably spoken over. It was the exceptional woman who could navigate the corridors of corporate culture, male expectations, and a workplace that was unsympathetic to her dual burden.
The climate crisis doesn’t stop for anyone or anything, not even the pandemic that has forced billions of us to radically overhaul our lives. And like the pandemic, climate change has no nationality, agenda or political affiliation.
An often quoted indigenous reference in the Samoan language is, O le ala i le pule o le tautua
, literally translated, “the pathway to leadership is through service” because to be able to lead is to be willing to serve.
In just over a day, on 9 December, Indonesia holds 270 simultaneous local elections for executive office. This involves nine of the republic’s 34 governors, 224 of 416 bupati
(district chiefs) and 37 of 98 mayors. The polling was initially scheduled for 23 September but the independent KPU (General Elections Commission) put the date back to 9 December due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have long given up on active politics,” Gertrude Sidambe, a 36-year-old member of one of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, tells IPS.
When female members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front complained last month about political violence as male members chose brawn over brains to solicit for positions, the party’s National Secretary for Women’s Affairs Mabel Chinomona advised that they enter the punch-and-insult battlefield and “fight” like everyone else.
In 2010, at the opening session of the civil society forum observing the tenth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on “Women and Peace and Security”, I had the honor to declare 1325 as “the common heritage of humanity” indicating the wide-ranging nature of the potential benefits which will flow from the landmark resolution’s full and effective implementation by all at all levels.
I will begin by presenting to you excerpts from the message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the International Day of Non-Violence.
The impacts of crises are never gender-neutral and COVID-19 is no exception. The pandemic has resulted in increased rates
of violence against women and has exacerbated challenges in accessing justice. Women are losing their livelihoods
faster than men.
The issue of women’s rights, feminism and gender is complex and ongoing in most countries including Bangladesh. When I was asked to write about impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, I found myself drawn towards writing about women’s situation in general as that automatically impacts COVID-19 response as well. Since I am a woman who has been a part of many different cultures, yet a Bangali at heart, I am not only a survivor within its ranks but also responsible for being a part of the solution to the problems we face.
In 2013, Alice Wahome ran in her third attempt to win the hotly-contested Kandara constituency parliamentary seat in Murang’a County, Central Kenya. As is typical of rural politics, the field was male-dominated, with the stakes being high for all candidates but more especially so for Wahome — no woman had ever occupied the Kandara constituency parliamentary seat.
Recent gains by women in the Ethiopian political landscape offer a chance to improve gender equality around the country and put an end to long-standing societal iniquities.
Since coming to power in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reorganised the cabinet to ensure that 50 percent of the government’s top ministerial positions have been given to women.
When you flip through grade one Bangla school textbooks there is very little written about the progress women have made in Bangladesh since the Beijing Conference for Women in 1995.
Where are the women and youth peacebuilders in the Beijing+25 and the Generation Equality Forum processes?
Their absence raises serious questions about the effectivity and coherence of the work of the UN on gender equality since armed conflict is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality.
The narrative surrounding women’s rights in 2020 carries much hope and possibility. A new decade is ushering in important anniversaries and milestones: 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, 110 years since the birth of International Women's Day and the 10-year countdown to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Inclusion of women in political processes is one of the key ingredients of sustainable peace.
Although the number of women in political office has increased worldwide over the past 25 years
, progress has been slow.