This month calls for celebrating strong revolutionary women while giving thanks for the progress that’s been made for Women’s Rights, acknowledging the inequalities we still face today and fighting for social, political and economic equality for our future generations. The traditional feminine and masculine roles need to be challenged in order to evolve. The best way to challenge them is with action.
The most active, inspiring and widely revered day of Women’s History Month is March, 8: International Women’s Day. Around the world, people of all genders celebrated by holding forums, attending conferences, running marathons, and organizing festivals.
This year’s campaign theme was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Corporations, Charities, World Leaders, women, and men promised to take part in this goal by taking the Pledge for Parity. Parity is defined as “the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay.” According to the International Women’s Day website, as of 2014, the World Economic Forum predicted that global gender parity would be not achieved until 2095. Just one year later, that prediction changed to 2133. Somehow, we, as a world, regressed. So on March 8, 2016, everyone was called to take the Pledge for Parity.
You choose how you would actively fight for gender parity. It began with “International Women's Day and beyond, I pledge to” and the options included:
1. Help women and girls achieve their ambitions.
2. Challenge conscious and unconscious bias.
3. Call for gender-balanced leadership.
4. Value women and men's contributions equally.
5. Create inclusive, flexible cultures.
Every single pledge is important and necessary to reach gender parity. The Pledge for Parity is not a public petition or a list of grievances to the patriarchy, it is a personal commitment to maintain an open mind that promotes equal opportunity and treatment for women. It is completely up to you how you plan to honor your pledge.
Personally, I pledged to “challenge conscious and unconscious bias.” To honor my Pledge for Parity, I plan to use gender-neutral language and to judge others by their actions and words rather than their gender. Ultimately, I want to stop using ‘hi guys’ as a way to greet my girlfriends and stop think of dominant women in power as a ‘bitch’ while viewing a dominant man in power as a ‘boss.’
Gender equality is a topic that I passionately advocate for, not just because I am women, but because I believe there should not be limitations, or expectations, of who how any individual should be. When making my pledge, I became curious as to what my peers at San Diego State University would pledge. So I posed this question to them: Which pledge do you think is the most important to make and why?
“I think the pledge to create an inclusive and flexible culture is the most important because this is the foundation for gender equality and truly fair treatment in our society. While focusing on the symptoms of inequality in our country like gender balanced leadership is important, real change in our mindset on the issue of how our culture perceives the different sexes will be the thing that brings about lasting progress for gender equality.” - Kate Clark
“I believe that “value men and women's contributions equally” is the most important pledge to make in order to reach gender equality. I believe in order to have a harmonious society and community which encourages the ambitious to accomplish their best work the extreme wage gap between genders will need to be addressed. Why should a woman make less than a man when they are doing the same thing? It just doesn’t make sense.” - Drew Wheeler
“Definitely gender-balanced leadership because having female leaders is not only the first step in having our voices heard, but it would also fix the wage gap. Having female voices would create a forced law on the discrimination(among other things) bringing justice.” - Anne Locatelli
“I think the most important pledge on that list is to call for gender-balanced leadership. Men should not be superior and be expected to lead at all times but rather, the field should be open to both genders. It’s absolutely ridiculous to reserve leadership positions based on gender. Women are as capable and even more qualified in certain situations so who are men to say that women cannot be leaders and set an example. Some of the greatest and most influential people in this world happen to be women and it is absurd that in 2016 we are still fighting for gender equality. Leadership can come from anyone, regardless of their gender, race, or social status. As progressive citizens of today’s society, we need to move away from these old ways of thinking and do away with gender barriers in all aspects.” - Sam Emami
I’m unbelievably proud to be part of a community that celebrates women, fights for gender equality, and honors the Pledge for Parity. As I said before, March is Women’s History Month, but let’s keep empowering women while working for gender equality. We wouldn’t want to limit the greatest time of the year to only one month. Let’s make it all year, every year.
Check out this site if you’d like to learn more about the fight for gender equality or if you’d like to take the Pledge for Parity.
Here are additional websites to see how people around the world celebrated International Women’s Day:
3. ‘How International Women's Day Was Proudly Celebrated In 8 Countries Around The World’ by Rosie Holden Vacanti Gilroy.
5. The launch of La Femme Collective, a new website for women to seek advice and share stories.