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International Women’s Day: Women in the changing world of work

By March 8, 2017October 3rd,

International Women’s Day: Women in the changing world of work

March 8, 2017

No matter where in the world you live, International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March and it is a special day to reflect on and celebrate the extraordinary acts of courage ordinary women have undertaken in the development of their countries and their communities. It is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements while also calling for gender equality.

International Women’s Day is not affiliated with any particular group, but brings together governments and women’s organisations across the world to celebrate women, focus on women’s empowerment and women’s rights.

2017’s focus: Women in the workplace

The global workplace is changing – from the digital revolution to new trade policies – and all of these changes have an impact on women’s economic empowerment. In addition, one of the original aims of International Women’s Day – gender equality – is still unrealised in many spheres of business where a gender pay gap still exists.  According to the World Economic Forum, this gender gap won’t close until 2186.

This year the theme for International Women’s Day will focus on some new commitments under the UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, which includes the following key targets of the 2030 Agenda:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant, effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as early and forced marriage.

When did International Women’s Day begin?

It’s thought the beginning of International Women’s Day can be traced to 1908 when 15 000 women marched through New York calling for voting rights, shorter working hours and better pay. In 1910 Clara Zetkin, the leader of the women’s office for the Social democratic Party in Germany suggested the idea of an International Women’s Day that celebrated women on one day of the year and advanced their causes.

In 1911 it was celebrated for the first time on the 19th of March in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In 1913, it was transferred to March the 8th and it has been celebrated on this day ever since and was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975.


International Women’s Day is celebrated in different ways across the world and is an official holiday in a number of countries.

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