In the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, International Women’s Day (IWD), held annually on March 8, is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.
Each year IWD is marked around the globe by both protest and celebration. With slow (yet unrelenting) progress being made in the fight for gender equality, IWD has gained major momentum in recent years, as women around the world have collectively declared that, in the words of Oprah, “a new day is on the horizon.”
In Australia there has been some progress – the gender pay gap is the lowest it’s been in 20 years[i] and the number of women on boards of ASX-listed companies grew from 8.3% in 2009 to 26.2% in 2017[ii]. But there is still some significant ground to cover. In 2017, we also slipped dramatically on the global index measuring gender equality to 35th, from a much more respectable 15th back in 2006[iii].
So whether you choose to spend this IWD hitting the streets in protest for women’s rights, or playing Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls) on repeat, here’s a quick run-down on all you need to know for IWD 2019.
How to get involved
This year, the campaign theme for IWD is #BalanceforBetter – a call-to-action for driving gender balance in business, government, media coverage and wealth. This Friday you can become part the global movement to raise awareness for women’s rights by visiting www.internationalwomensday.com where you can access everything from downloadable IWD selfie cards, through to tips on how to strike the #BalanceforBetter “hands out” pose, which can be a great way to also get your family, friends and workmates involved.
Bust out the purple
On March 8, we wear… purple!
Purple is the official colour for IWD….in fact purple has a rich history in the efforts to achieve gender equality, as it represents “the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette.” So if you want to represent on March 8 (and beyond) then a splash of purple is the way to go.
Brush up on your history
The earliest Women’s Day, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, at the suggestion of Russian-born American labour activist, suffragist and all-round legend, Theresa Malkiel. Over the years, the concept of a day to promote women’s rights, including suffrage for women, continued to evolve, until 1975 when the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day, with the United Nations General Assembly proclaiming March 8 as the official UN Day for women’s rights and world peace in 1977.
Want to learn more?
OUA offers a range of undergraduate subjects in the area of gender studies, including everything from Macquarie University’s ‘Foundations in Gender Studies’ through to ‘Gender, Crime and Justice’ from Griffith University and ‘Naughty Boys, Bad Girls: Gender and Discipline at Home and at School’, also from Macquarie University.
To express your interest in any courses that we offer – fill out the form on this page, and we’ll put you in touch with a friendly student advisor. If you’re keen to explore on your own, simply head over to our website to browse the extensive catalogue of courses from universities across Australia.