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guardian.co.tt Wednesday, March 8, 2017
What values drive International Women's Day?
According to https://www.internationalwomensday.
com, International Women's Day means different things
to different people, but the global focus on equality and
celebration is clear.
Throughout ancient and modern history, women have col-
laborated and lead purposeful action to redress inequality in
the hope of a better future for their communities, children
and themselves. Whether through bold well-document-
ed action or through humble resistance that never made it
into the history books, women have united for equality and
And along the way, one particularly powerful collaboration
lead to the formation of a globally united moment for women
across countries to come together in hope and action. That
moment is 'International Women's Day'
International Women's Day continues to be a powerful
platform globally that unifies tenacity and drives action for
gender parity, while celebrating the social, cultural, economic
and political achievements of women.
The specific values that drive International Women's Day
provide an important parameter for guiding the action, be-
haviours and ethos associated with this critical and global-
THE 10 INTERNATIONAL
WOMEN'S DAY VALUES ARE:
While the concept of justice may differ across cultures, the
notion of justice is based on respect and equality amongst
The Suffragettes toiled unreservedly for justice, dignity and
hope. Justice means being afforded the same equal rights and
opportunities as men.
Today through International Women's Day, the call for justice
across the world still prevails as women seek equal treatment,
conditions and opportunities to that of men.
A leading organisation campaigning for Women's suffrage in
the United Kingdom, the Women's Social and Political Union
(WSPU) that existed from 1903-1917 with membership and
policies tightly controlled by Emmeline Pankhurst and her
daughters Christabel and Sylvia, adopted from 1908 the col-
our purple to symbolise dignity. Dignity, as a value, refers to
the idea that all people have the right to be valued, respected
and receive ethical treatment. The word is derived from Latin
dignitas meaning worthiness.
Hope is the feeling of expectation and desire for a certain
thing to happen. The Suffragettes campaigned tirelessly for a
better world, one where they trusted that women would receive
equal rights and opportunities. The Suffragettes symbolised
the value of hope with the colour green. The Suffragette colours
were used on banners, flags, rosettes and badges.
Equality means ensuring all people have equal opportu-
nities to make the most of their lives and talents, and that
no one has poorer life chances due to their background or
status - the very core of International Women's Day. Gender
equality refers to women receiving and accessing the same
opportunities and benefits as men - but throughout history,
women were deemed to have no place in politics. They couldn't
stand as candidates for Parliament and they weren't allowed
to vote as it was assumed husbands would take responsibility
for political matters because a woman's role was seen to be
child-rearing and taking care of the home.
Just as Suffragettes rallied together, as did the earlier Suf-
fragists, so too do modern day women (and men) who under-
stand that there is power in unity. Strength in numbers and
voice are critical in driving change. International Women's
Day was founded on collaboration, and continues to be a key
element of its power to this day. Across the world individuals
and groups unite, not only to celebrate the achievements of
women, but to continue to call for action supporting greater
Tenacity was a key principle of both the Suffragists and the
Suffragettes, and their tireless effort in fighting the good fight
changed history. "Deeds not words" was the Suffragettes'
motto and they devoted considerable attention and effort to
forging the rights of women. Around the world today, as in the
past, exists an extensive number of groups and networks all
working to improve the social, economic, cultural and polit-
ical status of women - and International Women's Day is the
major day for rallying action, driving visibility and applauding
women who make a difference through their achievements.
International Women's Day provides a specific and designat-
ed moment each year to identify and celebrate the successful
achievements of women. Through celebrating success, popu-
lations not only become more appreciative of the role women
play in contributing to society but awareness and expectation
is increased that women will not be marginalised, discriminat-
ed against or absent from future successes moving forward.
Equality can only be achieved if the diversity, differences
and qualities of women are truly valued. Respect for others is a
key value underpinning the ethos and agenda of International
Women’s Day. Respect for others and respect for self, play an
important part in forging gender equality.
Seeking to understand others, caring for and valuing diversi-
ty, and appreciating difference are key to forging deep relation-
ships to affect change. It is through the ability to understand
and share the feelings of others that differing situations and
perspectives can be grasped. International Women's Day calls
for global understandings about the plight of women - the
challenges faced, obstacles endured and changes desired for
an inclusive and progressive world.
Throughout history women have been mistreated - and still, to
this day, women suffer harsh and inhumane treatment through to
continuing discrimination in the workplace. Focusing attention
and effort on the way forward, reconciling discrimination through
encouraging awareness and banding together to affect positive
change is all part of what International Women's Day stands
for. Use these values to deeply understand and drive your own
International Women's Day activity as you call for action and/or
celebrate women's achievements. Looking back to look forward,
these values have always under-pinned women's campaigning
for action and recognition.
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