Uniting for Gender Equality on International Women’s Day.
Every year on the 8th of March, women across the world gather in celebration of Women’s Day. From flying flags to exchanging flowers, women on this day not only commemorate womanhood and the rights of women. But amid joyous shouts and raucous cheers, we are reminded of the hardships women face. Gender-based marginalization and extremist-related violence remain a reality for too many. Courageous voices, like Malala Yousafzai, have reminded us that education is powerful. By raising the next generation of informed and empowered women, we can strive for a just and equitable society. After all, what frightens extremists more than a book in a girl’s hands? Education can help to level the playing field. Technological advances and the contributions of women in revolutions can propel us toward a more equitable society. When women gain greater power, we get closer to achieving true equality.
Give her the tools.
My first real experience of gender equality came from an unexpected place: the World Food Programme. I was an intern tasked with the burden of selecting photos of young children, faces caked with dirt yet eyes aching with hunger, and with limbs missing due to malnutrition. This was part of a public campaign to heighten awareness of the poverty crisis in Africa. Through this work, I also learned about ways multinationals were assisting women. I especially remember the example of Coca Cola in South Africa; the company provided refrigerators filled with their products and placed them in storefronts, most of which were owned by women. Not only did the women manage and sell the beverages, but the refrigerators also provided them with electricity, which drastically reduced crime in that area. This experience showed me the power of providing women with the right tools; suddenly, with a simple product, a whole community was safer and more prosperous. I found it to be a truly captivating example of gender equity in action.
Impact her with tech.
The example I had previously mentioned is innovative and a perfect fit for this year’s theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” Let us take it one step further with Bitcoin. Francesco Rulli, CEO at Querlo and global humanitarian, shared his mission to empower women with technology. “There is nothing greater in life than empowering others to succeed. Artificial Intelligence is my tool of choice to help people achieve their personal aspirations,” he said. This is the man who paid Afghan women in Bitcoin. He enabled filmmakers, graphic artists, and writers to have a voice. Melinda Gates said, “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman.” With this mission, Francesco opened a door of opportunity for hundreds of thousands of women, giving them a chance to be heard and to be brave. It is remarkable what one can achieve with a little innovation and creativity.
Uprising, her mission.
Technology has played a key role in cataclysmic revolutions like the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the War in Ukraine. However, these moments of progress were also made offline when the women of France and Russia had the courage to incorporate women’s rights into their revolutionary causes. Maria Gouze, a self-educated butcher’s daughter from the south of France, was known as Olympe de Goudes and her plays were even presented to the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, during the French Revolution. Her progressive views became her power, and like other women who fought for the same cause, she was driven by something greater – her heart. Maya Angelou speaks on the importance of love in revolutions, saying, “I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.” Beyonce would likely agree and add faith to the equation. These women, emboldened by both love and faith, have left an everlasting impression on culture and society, and have also given rise to inspiring internet subcultures in the process.
Her power and her responsibility.
The voice of revolution reverberates across society, and it is our responsibility to heed its call to the workforce. Women have a duty to seize the power that is rightfully theirs and use it to generate social change. As Roseanne Barr once said, “Nobody gives you power. You just take it.” But true power must be shared among women in order to be effective. She can’t do it alone – she needs the support of her peers to keep the engine running and to leverage resources such as money, time, and networks. It’s time for women to rally together, so together, we can break the boundaries of what is possible.
When I saw Malala at the UN, it was like being in the presence of a woman-child warrior. The room echoed with the sound of Malala’s voice, a month after the UN had designated a day to honor her courage and resilience. I was taken aback when I realized that, with her small frame and large presence, her voice was strong enough to carry over the room without a microphone. My heart thumped and a wave of emotion surged through me as I watched her speak with a passion that resonated with every woman present. Women of every age, culture and creed could relate to her message – that of a more equal world accessible to everyone through education. Charles Malik’s words seemed to take on a new meaning: “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” I had never felt more connected to the power of sisterhood. I felt proud, humbled, and inspired. I was ready to take action. Because real change begins with education and technological advances, then adding love for full effect, paving the way for
policies that create and sustain gender equity. At Women World, let’s come together to honor gender equality and rejoice in our shared humanity by having brunch. Reserve your spot now with this link.
Alice Hlidkova is a copywriter and blog curator at Women World.