by Anne-Maria Yritys, Featured Contributor
Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world” (Hillary Clinton)
Although officially celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th each year since 1977, the history of International Women´s Day dates back to the early 20th Century. In New York, The United States, women workers from the garment industry started protesting against working conditions, led by The Socialist Party of America.
Well-known for strong-minded women, Finland was one of the first countries in the world to follow the footsteps of Socialist International, the movement that came to establish the International Women´s Day in Copenhagen in 1910.
The real purpose of the International Women´s Day is the promotion of women to have equal human rights across the globe with men in an effort to achieve sustainable development, peace, and security. Empowering women worldwide is essential both for women and men in order to overcome social, economic, and political challenges being obstacles on our common path towards a world where every citizen has equal human rights. Until these goals have been achieved, both men and women should make each day of the year The International Women´s Day.
Although Finland is one of the most equal states worldwide in terms of gender equality, even this country of a thousand lakes (well, in fact we have almost 188.000 lakes) needs improvement in many areas, especially when it comes to abolishing (domestic) violence. Surprisingly enough, Finland as one of the most equal states in the whole world is reported to have the 2nd most domestic violence in the whole EU, with 47 % of all women of age 15 or above having experienced physical or sexual violence in some form.
Nevertheless, and apart from (domestic) violence, Finland is one of the safest and most equal countries in the world for women to work, and to live. In comparison with most other countries, women do officially have exactly the same human rights as men, including the right to own land – a major obstacle for women to progress economically, and socially, in many countries worldwide.
The most important reasons for both men and women to support the initiative to achieve gender equality worldwide:
– Abolishing poverty: The majority of poor people worldwide are women, due to various reasons such as women being hindered from participating in workforce, low wages, not having equal rights with men e.g. in terms of owning land (although women do most of the agricultural work worldwide).
– Empowering women and strengthening women´s position across the globe reduces severe economic and societal problems. The empowerment of women simultaneously leads to the empowerment of children, and men. Women are as important as men in societies, and by no means inferior.
The Rise of Women Does Not Mean the Fall of Men
Dedicated for MEN across the world especially –
A Movement is Building:
All over the world, men are taking a stand for gender equality. See how many men in your country have committed. Join them and move your country into the lead“
Click the link above and see how you as a MAN can support gender equality, and also watch this inspiring video where UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson encourages world and corporate leaders to take action for gender equality: