Happy International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March 8th. I know I am a couple of weeks late in talking about it but
I am using the excuse that we should be celebrating women every day rather than just one day a year. However, it is great that the world has
set aside a day to focus our attention on women's achievements and to bring attention to gender inequalities and issues affecting women
around the world. But the question is, where did this tradition start?
The first International Women's Day was celebrated in 1909 in the United States, thanks to the efforts of the Socialist Party of America.
They wanted to recognize the struggles of women who had been fighting for better working conditions, higher wages, and the right to vote.
How scary that we are 114 years on and we are still fighting some of the same battles. In 1910, a woman named Clara Zetkin proposed the idea
of an International Women's Day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. The proposal was met with unanimous approval,
and the first International Women's Day was celebrated the following year in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
From then on, International Women's Day became an annual event, and it spread throughout the world. In 1913, Russian women celebrated their
first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February, and it became an official holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917. Other countries
soon followed suit, and by the 1970s, International Women's Day had become a recognized holiday in many countries around the world.
One of the most important themes of International Women's Day is the fight for gender equality. Women have been fighting for equality for
centuries, and International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the progress that has been made and to reflect on the work that still needs
to be done. It's a day to recognize the achievements of women in all areas of life, including politics, science, technology, and the arts.
It's also a day to acknowledge the challenges that women still face, such as unequal pay, sexual harassment, and gender-based violence.
In recent years, International Women's Day has taken on new significance. The #MeToo movement, which began in 2017, has shone a spotlight on
sexual harassment and assault, and has highlighted the need for systemic change to address these issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a
significant impact on women, who have been disproportionately affected by job losses, increased caregiving responsibilities, and rising
levels of domestic violence.
Despite the challenges that women face, International Women's Day is a day to celebrate the strength, resilience, and accomplishments of
women around the world. It's a day to recognize the important contributions that women make to society, and to continue working towards a
more just and equal world for all.
Personally, International Women’s Day gives me the chance to celebrate the amazing women that inspire me.
Whether it is my new clients, sisters Margaret and Aisling Cunningham who developed their warming eye masks together while they both fought
breast cancer and are now thriving and helping the world.
Or my amazing client and friend Katie Townson, from Sticky Fingers Providore and Catering, who has had the year from hell but still keeps
pushing. Neither flood nor broken leg nor extreme stress has broken her business or her spirit.
Or even my incredibly strong daughter who wanted to make a difference in the world every day so she became a paramedic and moved to London
during a global pandemic with the sole goal of helping people on their worst days.
All of these women show such strength and resilience every day of their lives. But they are not alone. It is all of us displaying these same
qualities and standing together to celebrate them that will change the world. And hopefully it will not take another 114 years.