Monday, March 4, 2024
CommunityWomen's Rights

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day (IWD) is today and every year on March. 8. In honor of the day I wanted to remind folks about some important things for women in 2023 and offer some further reading on fabulous women on Queer Forty!

IWD is an annual event to celebrate the achievements of women around the globe while advocating for greater equality for those who identify as women. Because we’re not there yet. Not even white, cisgender women are as equal or as ‘successful’ in terms of power structures as their male peers.

Reuters reports that the European Banking Authority (EBA) collected data at the end of 2021 from nearly 800 banks and investment firms showing that women accounted for only 18% of executive and 28% of non-executive directors. Women earned on average 9.5% less than male executive directors, and 6% less than male non-executive directors.

However, women’s share of board seats at Britain’s 350 biggest listed companies reached 40% for the first time in 2022, a UK government-backed report showed. In February 2022, the business-led FTSE Women Leaders Review set FTSE350 companies a 40% target for women on boards and in leadership teams by 2025, up from a previous target of 33%.

And yet across the board, however, women earn less than men. According to Pew Research Center analysis, in 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned in hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers. And while that figure surely is better that what the United Nations is quoting (a shocking 51 cents in the dollar) — Pew’s results are similar to where the pay gap stood in 2002, when women earned 80% as much as men. How can nothing have changed in 20 years?

How can a reproductive right — the right to have an abortion — be rolled back, 50 years after it was made law? It seems for women, things can always get worse.

Money and reproductive rights not withstanding, violence against women is an epidemic that just won’t go away. The World Health Organization estimates that globally about 1 in 3 of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Imara Jones | Photo: Douglas Segars

And for transgender women, according to Imara Jones, the United States is the most violent place to live, with an epidemic of violence fueled by misogyny and LGBTQ hate.

While IWD was historically pegged to the labor movements of the early 20th century, in the U.S. and the UK, especially the right for humane working conditions and the right to vote, it has grown to be a vitalization of second wave feminism as well as the humanitarian effort to protect women and girls worldwide from violence, discrimination, abuse, femicide, and trafficking.

For example, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on former Soviet nation and Muslim-majority Kazakhstan to make sure that draft legislation will provide maximum protection for women from domestic violence, including by criminalizing it as an offense. HRW said in a statement on March 7 that two new bills that are being debated offer “crucial opportunities” to correct previously scant provisions on domestic abuse. 

The UN officially recognized IWD in 1977 and each year it chooses a theme — this year it is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” Which reminds me: Support Lesbian Who Tech and their allies here. And do support Human Rights Campaign, which now has its first ever queer and Black woman President, Kelley Robinson.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Further reading about women on Queer Forty

Women’s History Month

Trans activist Imara Jones

Queer women you need to know

Queer Black women of the Harlem Renaissance

Historic queer wom*n’s survey

America’s female football pioneers

Merryn Johns

Merryn Johns is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Forty. She is an award-winning journalist, as well as a broadcaster and public speaker. Originally from Sydney, Australia where she began her career in journalism in the 1990s, she is based in New York City where she became the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine and wrote for a variety of publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Slate, and more. Follow on Twitter at @Merryn1

Merryn Johns has 138 posts and counting. See all posts by Merryn Johns

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