With International Women’s Day again the focus of events and media coverage across Australia – and the world - there will no doubt be discussion about what it achieves. And whether eventually there will be enough parity between the sexes to make the commemoration redundant.
" Having a traditionally significant day to highlight the cause helps reinforce and affirm the core [equality] agenda."
Catherine Fox, Author, journalist and BlueNotes guest editor
Obviously the efforts to help close the gender gap continue all year on different fronts but having a traditionally significant day to highlight the cause helps reinforce and affirm the core agenda.
And even if the gap is closed one day – the World Economic Forum suggests the year 2100 at the current rate – we’d still need IWD.
What we are marking on March 8 is an historic, successful and largely non-violent human rights movement.
We should never forget nor stop commemorating the bold efforts and legacy of women the world over to bring us the rights we have today. To vote, get an education, earn equal pay (theoretically at least) and keep our own money, to get a divorce, and have agency over our own lives.
As many events in the world remind us right now, boldness and eternal vigilance are needed to protect some of these fundamental rights and to remember the strong evidence showing the economic upside from closing the gender gap.
Those campaigns for women’s rights we remember on IWD were led by brave and resourceful women. They were also won after men, powerful men, became partners and supporters of change.
Many of these themes are reflected in this issue’s articles and commentary, ranging from women in IT to the international picture on closing the gender gap, how women’s voices need to be heard, and the role of men.
That’s something I have particularly examined in my latest book, “Stop Fixing Women: why building fairer workplaces is everybody’s business”.
It sets out a new business case (built on 30 years of research and interviews with experts and executives from around the world) for using the time, money and attention wasted on trying to ‘fix’ women into male norms to changing biased rules and practices by engaging the men who still largely run the show.
The result? More productive, happier and healthier workplaces for everybody. That’s something that celebrating IWD reminds us is worth fighting for: persistently and boldy.
Catherine Fox is an author, journalist and guest editor of BlueNotes
BLUENOTES FULL COVERAGE OF #IWD2017