Erin Christie

International Women’s Day takes place annually on March 8, to celebrate women and highlight the many issues that must be addressed to create an equal society. Women across the world will be encouraged to host and attend events and engage with their communities to learn about prevalent gender inequality. The celebration of International Women’s Day began earlier this week, with the All About Women Festival taking place in Sydney on Sunday. This featured many speeches and panels by various female activists, writers and professionals. The popular ABC program, Q&A, featured an all-female panel on Monday night, and held discussions on sexual assault, body image, and the complicated nature of abuse with the added element of technology. The investigation of these issues is overall encouraging women to ‘Be Bold for Change’, which is the chosen theme for International Women’s Day this year.

This theme was decided upon as women become more aware of a desperate need for societal change in order to reach equality. With reference to last year’s campaign – Pledge for Parity – the International Women’s Day website points out that the gender pay gap is still significant. According to the website, the World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, a frustrating realisation for women who currently fight for equality. International Women’s Day therefore needs to be a vehicle for change in society.

As for Sydney, numerous events are being held today to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Greens Party hosted an International Women’s Day Breakfast at NSW Parliament House with Aboriginal writer and activist, Nayuka Gorrie, and Muslim Spoken Word Artist, Hawraa Kash. Closer to home, Willoughby Women Inspired, held at he Willoughby Incinerator, featured guest speakers such as Willoughby Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney and Pat Evans from Dress for Success. Events were also held online; the Empower Hour Campaign allowed women to donate an hour’s worth of their wages to the Dress for Success Foundation, which works to help women further their employment opportunities through coaching sessions, peer mentoring, mock interviews, and the provision of clothes for job interviews.

International Women’s Day is a great way to celebrate the successes and achievements of women on both a national and global scale. However, these events and campaigns are also in place to remind us to continue fighting gender inequality at all times, not just on International Women’s Day.