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International Women’s Day 2018: We Aren’t Done Working

By: Marissa Litty:

Today is International Women’s Day, an entire day devoted to commemorating the achievements of women, throughout time and across the planet. Inspired by the movement for women’s rights, a day like this is pivotal, especially in today’s world. In the last year, we’ve seen a surge in support for the challenges women continue to face even in 2018. And though we’ve made amazing strides in the last 100+ years, the work is not done…

The best way to celebrate #InternationalWomensDay - Strategizing better gender diversity in your workplace: Click To Tweet

IWD’s History

While there are many events that have been associated with it’s creation, the general consensus is that IWD is a global day devoted to the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The first Women’s Day was held February 28, 1909 in New York, but was moved to March 8th the following year when it was also given the official title of International Women’s Day. In the early years of its observance, the world was in a state of great change, which is exactly why no single government, country or organization can lay claim to its beginning.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” -Gloria Steinem

This, in and of itself, is a powerful statement. Women’s suffrage and gender parity wasn’t a concern of a few, it was cause felt by many. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, even with all this solidarity, our work for gender equality isn’t complete.

We (Still) Need IWD

Research from 2016 shows that women with full-time jobs only earn about 80% of their male colleagues earnings. That’s a slow crawl from the 77% of 2014, and one you can bet wouldn’t have seen improvement without the pressure of movements like Equal Pay Day. Created by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996, Equal Pay Day symbolizes just how far into the year a woman has to work in order to receive what men made in the previous year.

The date changes depending on the country and year it’s celebrated in, but the point remains the same: in this modern world, women must work roughly 3 months more than an equally-qualified man to make the same salary. This year, it falls on Tuesday, April 10th. Our work isn’t done until Equal Pay Day is also New Year’s.

And no, you pay gap naysayers, this would not be solved by more women choosing to work in different industries. A common claim is that women earn less because they aren’t gaining education and training in the same verticals as well paid men. This is false. Women in STEM earn about 84% as much as their male counterparts. So yes, women in STEM will most likely earn more than those outside the STEM field, including men in non-STEM roles. However, women in STEM still earn less than men with the same level of training. Not okay.

The #PayGap isn’t about women choosing the wrong degree. Women in #STEM earn about 80% compared to their male colleagues: Click To Tweet

Gender Parity is Your Problem

This powerful piece by Buffer’s Courtney Seiter is filled with some pretty insightful stories about when a lack of inclusivity failed projects. For example, the only artificial heart on the market fits 80% of men and only 20% of women, and because crash dummies are modeled after the average male height, weight and stature, female drivers are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in car accidents.

These facts hold a powerful lesson for emerging organizations, technologies and tools. If you commit to bringing gender diversity to your boardroom, development meeting, QA team and so on, you stand a better chance at seeing greater success. We all suffer under gender inequality, which means we all thrive under gender equality.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #PressforProgress, to represent the 2017 Gender Gap Report’s findings that it will be another 200+ years before gender parity is over. As an optimist, I like to see this as an opportunity. If we continue driving these efforts forward, we can accelerate that number and shorten those calculations. This is our chance and IWD is yet another tool in fueling progress and reminding us where we started.