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.
When the United Nations was founded in 1945, the principle of equality for all – regardless of sex, race, language, or religion - was enshrined in the organization's Charter.
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.