This Sunday on International Women’s Day, women all over the world celebrated those who have made a difference in the lives of women everywhere, and called attention to issues like gender equality.
Actress and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson took advantage of this world holiday by hosting a Facebook conversation as part of her HeForShe campaign, which focuses on getting more men involved in women’s issues. According to Watson, men need to be involved in the campaign because gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights one.
The UFCW and our allies agree that until there is no discrimination against any group of people–in the workplace, in schools, in the government, or anywhere else, our work is not done.
As part of Watson’s HeForShe Facebook conversation, she clarified what she believes “feminism” to actually mean: “equality politically, culturally, socially, economically.” She continued that if you agree with such equality, then you are a feminist, and the term need not be so controversial.
Elsewhere, leading up to International Women’s Day, Germany passed a groundbreaking law on Friday that will require companies to give 30 percent of supervisory board positions to women. According to Think Progress, “the quota will apply to the country’s 100 biggest companies by next year, where women currently hold just 18.6 percent of board director seats. Another 3,500 have until September 30 to submit their plans for increasing the share of women on their boards.”
This move by Germany means that the country is now catching up to a number of other European countries, who enacted similar quotas as early as 2008. In the United States however, progress has been even slower.
Think Progress notes that “women make up less than 20 percent of board positions at S&P 500 companies. A different measure, of companies in the Fortune 500, found in 2013 that women made up less than 17 percent of seats and hadn’t made inroads in eight straight years.”
A recent study showing that there are more men named John, Robert, James and William on American boards than all women combined shocked many, but for others it was just a reminder about how much more work needs to be done to achieve gender equality in the corporate world, let alone on other fronts.
But progressive groups are working harder than ever to provide education about such issues, and are fighting for meaningful change.
UNI Global Union has a campaign dedicated to equal pay. Entitled UNI Equal Pay Campaign, its website provides answers to frequently asked questions about the gender wage gap and job segregation, provides tools and downloadable materials to help those trying to tackle the pay gap, and even offers legal documents and a list of good practices to help combat these issues. Be sure to check out their site to learn more about how getting equal pay will improve the lives of so many women.
Stay tuned all this month for more Women’s History Month discussions and stories.