IWD 2023 takes up missions to help forge a gender equal world

International Women’s Day 2023 will explore the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. IWD has EmbraceEquity campaign theme and is a global day to mark the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  A report by MY Siddiqui

This year the theme for the UN International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 is ‘DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality’. This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67) Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. IWD 2023 will explore the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. IWD 2023, being celebrated on March 8 every year, has EmbraceEquity campaign theme and is a global day to mark the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

IWD 2023 endeavours to achieve every woman’s right to live free from violence, slavery and discrimination; to be educated; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage. Besides, every woman has the right to live in dignity, free of fear, coercion, violence and discrimination. The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, or to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care for human rights. Issues in 2023 are: Women and Sustainability, Women and Wealth, Women at Work, Women in Tech, and Women’s Health. IWD is powered by collective efforts of all. Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes IWD impactful.

IWD has taken up a number of Missions to help forge a gender equal world, celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality.  Let’s imagine a gender equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, a world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive, a world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively, we can all embrace Equity. The campaign theme aims at celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness about discrimination, and taking action to drive gender parity with a focus on gender equity as part of every society’s DNA.

As for India, its Constitution provides for equality between the sexes without discrimination in all walks of life with a provison for the government to intervene for gender justice from time to time. As a result, women have progressed, though slowly, in all walks of human activities and endeavours. However, prevailing patriarchy, misogyny and stereotyping in the society in the country and globally have come in the way. Equality has eluded women of India so far.

Crimes against women have been rising. Successive union governments have taken steps to gender sensitization in education curricula, public administration, judiciary, law enforcing agencies of police, security forces, armed forces, government and corporate offices, and from cradle to graves. More than 39 central laws have been enacted over the last two hundred years to bring about gender equality and for empowerment of women. Successive union governments have even earmarked separate budgets for all round development of women. However, budgetary allocations for women’s uplift are insufficient and with a lot of leakages in the expenditure of the budgeted allocations, progress of women and girls is slow and stunted.

The foregoing calls on each one of us to actively support and embrace equity within our own sphere of influence. We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. After all, collective activism is what drives change. From grassroots action to wide-scale momentum, we can all embrace equity. Forging gender equality is not limited to women solely.

All of us, everyone everywhere can play a part. Collectively, we can all forge positive change being included, and a sense of belonging, feel right. When we embrace equity, we embrace diversity and we embrace inclusion. We embrace equity to forge harmony and unity to help drive success for all. Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there. Through the process of equity we can reach equality. Let’s embrace equity in all its forms. Let’s make IWD our Day and Do what we can to make truly a positive difference for women!