March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global, annual event that is celebrated as an official holiday in some countries. IWD began with political roots in 1909, but since then, it has expanded to a much wider audience, with the purpose of recognizing women’s economic and social achievements and the movement toward gender equality.
In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations started celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day:
Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
The International Women’s Day website notes that, though there is still work to be done to achieve gender equality in the workplace and society as a whole, many positive changes have occurred in recent years:
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
The workplace has changed dramatically since 1909, or even 1975, and women’s roles in the working world continue to grow and evolve. What changes will be next?
Ilene Lang, President and CEO of Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to building inclusive workplaces, published these thoughts on the Catalyst blog in honor of International Women’s Day:
Futurists point to the emergence of interconnected economies that place a premium on innovative thinking. Traditional “bricks and mortar” offices—too expensive and impractical to survive—will give way to collaborative work across vast distances in real-time. But how will women fit in? We might not be in the same place, but this doesn’t mean stereotypes and gender biases will magically disappear. In fact, we might have to work even harder to identify and root them out. It will take real action—and hard work—to clear a path for women’s advancement. Same strategies, different terrain.
What developments do you think will build more inclusive workplaces?