International Women’s Day: Progression of Women’s Rights


Image from 'Its Nice'

International Women's Day was celebrated this past Friday.

Christina Bubba, Editor-in-Chief

2018 was a progressive year for women’s rights and an important stepping stone towards equality. 2018 was known as the “Year of the Women,” while 2019’s theme is “Balance for the Better.”

Last year, 36 women were appointed seats in the House of Representatives during the midterm elections. Even in locations where women’s rights are relatively lacking, important strides were made in the past year. Saudi Arabian women are now officially permitted to drive legally.

However, there are still plenty of areas where women’s rights still need improvement. According to the United Nations, women only earn 77 percent of what men earn around the globe. A mere 23 percent of governments passed laws to decrease this gender wage gap.

In light of the #MeToo movement, the issue of sexual harassment and assault awareness has rose to prominence. Although sexual assault concerns all genders, one in three women around the world have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the World Health Organization.

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to bring awareness to these types of issues. It is also a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is a day for advocacy, unity, and one to take action.

“In my culture, it is typical for the women to stay home as a house-wives and for the men to go out and work,” junior Education major Karina Gil said. “So I think it’s important, as a woman, to be a first-generation college student because it’s a step towards change.”

International Women’s Day was formed in 1910 at the International Conference of Working Women by Ciara Zetkin. Zetkin was the leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

“This story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” world-renowned feminist, journalist, and activist Gloria Steinem once said.

In the first year, over one million people attended the rallies that campaigned for women’s rights. Women are still fighting for many of the same rights that were advocated for over a century ago. The topic of voting rights was at the forefront of the conversation for the first nine years, until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920.

Today, although women’s rights have clearly progressed, there’s still issues activists are fighting against. Today, there are 750 million women and girls who have been married before 18, more than 130 million who did not attend school, and over 5,000 women have been killed globally for “dishonoring their families.”

While recent accomplishments should be celebrated, we must not forget the challenges that still lie ahead.