Saturday, March 8, 2014

Equality for Women Is Progress for All

By Lauren Pope
Junior Reporter
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom – March 8th is International Women’s Day, a worldwide celebration recognizing the great achievements made by females throughout the world.
International Women’s Day has existed for more than a century, and is accepted by the United Nations as an official holiday in 27 countries. It is a day to consider your female role models, and how they have helped make the world a better place – even in the simplest of ways.
Some people may argue that International Women’s Day is an unnecessary event, because if it’s all about equality, then shouldn’t we just hold one celebration for achievements made regardless of gender?
I do believe that is something we should work towards, but for now that is not the case, as female voices are still going unheard, and it is essential that everyone has their say.
As someone who attends an all-girls school, it is made known to my peers and I about the lack of women present in the top jobs in society. Several teachers spend their time encouraging us girls to go after the more male-dominated professions.
According to parliament.uk, about one in five members of parliament are women, compared to more than half of the population being female. I find it very hard to believe this is for lack of women trying.
According to the Office for National Statistics in Britain, today women are still earning 15 percent less than men per hour, costing them more than £5,000 a year for the same job, or more than $8,300 in American dollars.
Statistics like these can be seen as discouraging, and in my opinion International Women’s Day plays a large part in showing generations that just because things aren’t pointing in their favor, doesn’t mean that success is unattainable.
Every year the UN choose an official theme for International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is, ‘Equality for women is progress for all.’
When we have gender equality, we will be one step closer to making our world a fairer place for all to live with equal chances of success and failure.
I am not oblivious to the many obstacles in the way of achieving this, but, as said by Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible!’”
I’m sure there are many people participating in celebrations across the world in honor of International Women’s Day, and Birmingham, United Kingdom, the city I live in, is one of them.
Here in Birmingham, an afternoon of inspirational talks, music and poetry will be taking place to celebrate how the arts have helped women progress, and have been used as a force of good. 
To me, females being equivalent to males isn’t about giving them certain opportunities or chances, it is about allowing them access to the opportunities and chances that were previously off limits.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the extraordinary efforts made by ordinary women in every way possible across the world.

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