Yesterday, the world united in a celebration of women around the world: International Women’s Day. Every year on March 8, millions of people around the world unite to celebrate the achievements the world has made in pursuing equality for women and the opportunities that are available to women around the world, and to strive to make further progress in the name of gender equality. Of course, there are still many steps to be taken toward gender equality, and the road forward is not a smooth one. But as we move forward, let’s focus on some of the highlights and events held along the way.
This eight day festival began and March 1 and culminated on March 8, International Women’s Day. It’s impossible to describe the sheer number of events that took place, although highlights include speakers Caitlin Moran, Sarah Brown, and Safak Pavey, the first disabled woman elected to Turkish Parliament. The festival was headlined by tUnE-yArDs, whose front woman Merrill Garbus is a prominent proponent of gender equality.
This year featured the inaugural SheTalksYVR event, held in Surrey, Canada. Featuring 15 women all from the west coast of Canada, the conference invited each speaker to answer the following: “How are you changing your world?” Speakers included Maria Kritikos, the entrepreneur and founder of the Ladies Who Lunch network, published and activist Jodie Emery, and co-founder of the Ghana-based consultants Amplify Governance, Bethany Borody. The most promising part: all proceeds went to the She Talks Scholarship, which provides scholarships for young, emerging female leaders.
Focusing on encouraging women to follow career paths in science, technology, engineering, and maths, the Mums and Girls Code workshop offers introductory English-language workshops in coding. Presented by Microsoft Luxembourg, Geek Girls Carrots and Workshop4Me, these workshops offer practical introductions into fields that have historically been less accessible to women. Let’s change that!
Further along encouraging career paths in STEM, the Women in Science Breakfast, held at the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, features three pre-eminent female scientists discussing their work and careers in the STEM fields. The event presents an opportunity to teach young women how they can pursue successful careers in science, technology, engineering, and maths.
A 12-kilometer walk through central Accra in Ghana, this event speaks directly to the metaphorical path gender equality has followed. The walk begins at the University of Ghana and ending at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection where Minister Nana Oye Lithur will speak on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Of course, there’s always more that can be done. If you’re interested in learning more about International Women’s Day, including ways you can contribute, head to http://www.internationalwomensday.com and #makeithappen!