The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “make it happen”. Yes, we’ve a lot of progress since 1909 but there is still a lot more to do.
From the UN Women’s website:
1) Education: Since 1995, we’ve reached a point where girls and boys worldwide are enrolling in primary school at almost equal rates. That is a huge step forward. The next step is secondary school, where the gender gap widens again.
2) Maternal Mortality: In the last 25 years, maternal mortality has dropped by 45%, which means that half of the women who survive childbirth today wouldn’t have made it in a different time. But there’s still more work to do — 800 women a day die from basic pregnancy complications, mostly in the developing world.
3) Water access: Water is an important issue for women, since in many developing countries girls are responsible for fetching water, a task so time-consuming and difficult that it can keep them out of school or put them in danger of being attacked. Between 1990 and 2010, 2 billion people gained access to clean drinking water, relieving the burden of water-fetching from girls. Still, in Sub-Saharan Africa, women spend 16 million hours per day getting water.
4) Leadership: Since 1995, the number of women serving in legislatures has nearly doubled — but that still only translates to 22% of politicians worldwide.
There’s still a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to getting women into leadership roles and stopping violence against women. But the advances in health and education since 1995 have been striking. It means we should take heart — even if there’s a lot more work to do, progress is possible. It’s already happened, and we can make it happen again.