International Women’s Day is an opportunity to embrace equality. Imagine a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Originated from labour movements in North America and Europe, and spurred on by the universal female suffrage, during the early 20th century, the earliest version of the day was held on February 28th, 1909 in New York City. This then inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference to propose a special day for women to be organised annually.
Commemorated in a variety of ways worldwide, International Women’s Day is celebrated as a public holiday in several countries, and observed socially or locally in others.
The UN observes the holiday in connection with a particular issue, campaign, or theme in women’s rights. This year the theme is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality
Women have made untold contributions to the digital world from the earliest days of computing to the current age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence that we live in.
Today, women are still being blocked by a persistent gender gap in digital access, stopping them from unlocking technology’s full potential. Their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance. And the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence—coupled with a lack of legal recourse—too often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy.
At the same time, digital technology is opening new doors for the global empowerment of women, girls and other marginalized groups. From gender-responsive digital learning to tech-facilitated sexual and reproductive healthcare, the digital age represents an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate all forms of disparity and inequality.
This International Women’s Day, the UN is calling on governments, activists and forces from the private sector to power on in an effort to make the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable. Facing a multiplicity of global crises, we have a chance to create a better future—not just for women and girls, but for all humanity and all life on Earth.
Celebrate the women in your life. Lift them up. Support them. Embrace them.