Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day: Have we gained momentum

Today is International Women's Day and the event's theme is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. As the world geared up to honor women worldwide, the pressing question has been whether women's rights have really made any real gains to date.

Well, it depends. There are scores of studies with mixed results. Some show improvement in the professional and social realms. More women are entering the workforce, holding upper management positions. We're educated, driven, and resilient. We have challenged traditional gender expectations.

Other results have not been so promising. While more women are earning degrees and working at professional jobs now than any other period in history, we are still in the minority. Overall, some advancements but at a micro level.

The news is not as disappointing as it appears though. What has changed is that the campaign for women's rights has transitioned from a local level to an international one. This change is also taking place at an organizational level as well. Our voices are no longer confined to shouting into bullhorns in front of federal buildings. Nor are they limited to being voiced by local politicians. We now have giants in the form of global entities speaking for us: the UN, World Bank and the OECD. Our voices have echoed over borders and oceans, and from every corner of the earth. The world is now speaking in unison on our behalf. And this chorus is not limited to a certain group, color or race - but for all of us, everywhere.

Have we made real gains? Apparently so if our needs have made it on the global agenda. There is still work to do, but when we get over that huge hurdle we will exceed all expectations because we did it as one voice for all women, everywhere.

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