International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year to recognise the achievements and contributions of women throughout history and across nations. The day is also marked as a call to action to accelerate gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and has grown into a global movement that raises awareness about issues affecting women’s lives, including gender-based violence, economic inequality, and lack of representation in political and social spheres.
Why is this day so important to us?
In2scienceUK’s mission is to empower and enable students, regardless of their background, to create a world in which every young person has the opportunity to succeed in STEM. International Women’s Day is particularly important to us, as a charity that is working to get underrepresented young people into STEM, as it is an opportunity to highlight the underrepresentation of women in these fields and to promote gender equity in STEM education and careers.
In 2022 we proudly supported over 450 young women on our In2science summer programme.
This is important to us as girls are often discouraged from pursuing STEM careers due to a variety of factors, including societal stereotypes about gender roles, lack of role models, and lack of support and resources. This is why we chose to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM and to showcase the contributions that women have made to science and technology.
What are the most pressing issues women are facing?
Gender Pay Gap: women currently earn only 63% of what men earn globally. At the current rate of progress, it will take another 135.6 years to close the gender pay gap. (According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021)
Women in Leadership: only 22% of parliamentarians worldwide are women, and women hold only 24% of senior management roles globally.
Violence Against Women: 1 in 3 women globally experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, often at the hands of a partner or spouse. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to an increase in domestic violence cases globally. (According to a report by the United Nations)
Women’s Health: women face unique health challenges, including maternal mortality, breast and cervical cancer, and reproductive health issues. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 globally. (According to the World Health Organization)
Education: education is a crucial factor in achieving gender equality. However, an estimated 130 million girls worldwide are out of school, and many more face barriers to accessing education, including poverty, child marriage, and discrimination.
Women in the Workforce: women make up a significant portion of the global workforce, but they are often concentrated in low-paid and precarious jobs. Women also perform a disproportionate amount of unpaid care work, which can limit their economic opportunities.
What can you do to support Women?
Helping to promote and protect women’s rights is important for many reasons. Helping to promote and protect women’s rights is important for building a more just, equitable, and inclusive society for all.
There are several ways that you can help show support for Women:
- Educate yourself and learn more about the history of women’s rights movements and current issues women are facing today.
- Listen to women and give women the space to share their experiences and perspectives without interruption or dismissal.
- Speak out against sexism and call out sexist language, behaviour, and attitudes when you see them, whether it’s in your personal life or in the media.
- Vote for women’s rights and support political candidates who prioritise women’s rights and equality.
- Volunteer at a women’s shelter, mentor a young girl, or donate your time to organisations that support women’s rights.
- Attend an Event or a conference that celebrates women’s achievements and promotes gender equality.
- Celebrate the Women in Your Life and take the time to appreciate the women in your life, whether it’s your mother, sister, friend, or coworker, and let them know how much they mean to you.
Where do we go from here?
International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the importance of creating a world that is inclusive and equitable for all. It also highlights the need for collective action to promote women’s rights and advance gender equality globally.
This month is also Women’s History Month. We are planning to share another blog with you soon to celebrate this month, that will highlight three female figures that have been derided and denied recognition for their own discoveries. We are also sharing stories this month, from inspirational women working across various STEM fields with our students, and are collaborating with female-led organisations to inspire our students with strong female role models that are key contributors to the world of STEM.