March is Women’s History Month and is also when we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). While IWD is March 8th, we shouldn’t limit our focus on the achievements, and the remaining work required, to realize true equality between genders to just one month.
Why International Women’s Day Matters
Every day, women continue to make strides both professionally and privately. Although we often focus solely on women breaking glass ceilings and pushing through barriers that limited previous generations, we know that there’s still more work to be done.
Currently, women still make less than men — even though the rate at which women are earning degrees and entering the workforce has grown exponentially. In general, women in the U.S. make just 78 cents for every dollar a white man makes. However, that figure drops when filtered by a woman’s race or ethnicity. Similarly, the number of women in senior leadership roles is minuscule when compared with the total number of leadership positions available.
International Women’s Day 2022
For 2022, the theme for IDW is #BreakTheBias. Because we still live in a society that unofficially punishes women for having children, where there’s still a bias in healthcare with female patients less likely to be believed by health care professionals, and where outdated gender stereotypes continue to marginalize and limit women from reaching their full potential in the workplace.
But research continues to show that women are capable of leading and that when given an environment free from hostility and gender bias, women can thrive. In turn, when women thrive, the companies that employ them, as well as their surrounding communities are more prosperous.
Fighting Gender Bias Today and Beyond
Fighting gender bias and creating a more equitable society is about more than a trending hashtag and posed picture on social media. It will take more than just women advocating for each other. Gender bias hurts men too, which is why women’s equality is a global issue that is prioritized even within the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO).
For example, advocating for national paid family leave and affordable child care ensures that women are not disproportionately financially impacted by factors such as pregnancy or caring for loved ones. And it ensures that every woman who wants to work outside of the home can effectively do so without the added burden of expensive childcare.
Pushing for gender equality is an incremental process, and may often involve focusing on goals that might not seem directly related to a woman’s ability to earn and contribute to society. But, even small factors such as abolishing the pink tax and period tax, or fighting to overcome societal taboos around periods means that women aren’t punished for purchasing necessities such as menstrual products or shaving razors — or in extreme cases young girls aren’t forced to withdraw from school several days every month.
Don’t be afraid to speak out against gender bias when you see it — even when it’s coming from your social circle. Support women, even if it’s nothing more than frequenting that corner coffee shop that’s women-owned. And most importantly, get involved in your community. If you don’t see the change you desire, you have the power and the voice to make it happen!