“‘Deeds, not words’, was to be our permanent motto,” wrote Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in her memoirs. It was a rallying cry with the impact to change the very fabric of social reality of the time. And through the efforts of Pankhurst and her fellow courageous and determined campaigners, it would eventually lead to the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, granting women over 30 in the UK the right to vote for the first time.
A century later, in 2018 (with Gender Pay Gap legislation in its first year in the UK), actions still speak louder than words, although words - and now hashtags - have their part to play. Some of the most powerful in recent times have included #MeToo, #Timesup, and the 2018 International Women’s Day theme #PressforProgress, uniting women everywhere behind the issues still to be challenged and the battles for equality yet to be won.
International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 has its roots in the Suffragette movement, the first having been celebrated in 1911. The original aim of IWD was to achieve gender equality for women — something that, a hundred years on, has yet to be realised. But the imperative to #PressforProgress urges us to stride forward into a world that is experiencing powerful winds of change.
With the recent Hollywood film industry scandal and World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings showing gender parity to be more than 200 years away, there has never been a more important time to stay motivated individually and globally.
As the Suffragettes showed, gender parity can be a slow burn but increased transparency across the board and a strong and growing worldwide movement of advocacy, activism and support edge us ever closer — and faster — to equality.
International Women’s Day itself brings together governments, women’s organisations, businesses and charities around the world under its banner, and will be marked with talks, performances, rallies, networking events and marches in more than 100 countries. At everywoman, we will be adding to the #PressforProgress conversation with a webinar Q&A around our own recent Progress Survey findings, and reflecting back the experiences and voices of our Network members.
IWD asks that we commit to a gender parity mindset through progressive action, in the spirit of Suffragette power — so if you want to put your shoulder to the wheel, sign up to the IWD pledge this year.
Ultimately, a collaborative and collective action is a key to accelerating equality, something that this global awareness day continues to underline every year. To quote another popular US women’s movement battle cry last year, “Nevertheless, she persisted”.
Powerful words, indeed, to take us forward.
How you can get involved with IWD 2018
- Pledge your support. Make an online (and offline!) pledge and say how you are going to #PressforProgress this year. Take the Pledge.
- Join one of the many events happening around the world. To find out what’s on where you live or work (or to register your own event) click on the IWD website HERE.
- Register for the everywoman webinar on our Progress Survey for International Women’s Day and put your questions to our Q&A panellist.