One hundred and six years ago, 15,000 women marched through the city of New York demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. One year later, on 28 February 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed across the United States. In the years following those embryonic days, the movement surged in popularity, spreading across Europe, and in 1913 it was decided that every year, on 8 March, women would express solidarity in their campaign for equality.
Today, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. Thousands of events are held across the world to celebrate achievements of women, and inspire others to emulate their successes.
Despite more than a century of campaigning, things are still far from equal. Yes, in most countries women can now vote and attend school, and the Church of England is close to appointing its first female bishop. But although there has been progress in recent years, there are areas that can be improved. Women are still not represented fairly in boardrooms, equality of pay is a problem in some fields, and we have far more male politicians despite men being slightly outnumbered – on these isles, at least.
So with this all in mind, our cover story today makes for disappointing reading. The Chancellor’s tax and benefit strategy is doing no favours to the Tories’ attempts to shake off unpopularity among female voters.
In this day and age we should be doing all we can to close the gender gap so that women can progress and get on a more even keel.