Today, March 8th, marks International Women's Day (IWD) and we wanted to share some of our thoughts on what this day means to us. The topic for this year's IWD is gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. Women and girls all around the world struggle to this day to have their voices heard or to have the same opportunities as men. Initiatives like these help people pause and reflect on how they can help foster an equal world, both for the sake of all women but also for our planet.
To learn about each other's perspectives on IWD at Skillhus, we talk about what International Women's Day means to us.
Why IWD is important to them and what they would like to focus on in 2022.
Let's start with Derek:
International Women's Day to me is about living life and how every individual takes those bold steps to do so everyday. It's about recognizing the achievement of being your own unique person in a world that so often wants to place people in a box. It's like categorizing music in a genre. I feel like music is a form of expression that does not need to be classified or put into a box. Humans are the same. No box required!
For 2022 I would like to focus on one's identity. It is easy to make jokes or say, "that's gay." I'm breaking away from that sort of language out of respect, and I'd like to continue on that path.
Here are Hanne's thoughts:
For me, International Women's Day is important for many reasons. Being a woman, a proud feminist, and a mother to a daughter, it happens to be a personally important day for me. However, I do know how blessed we are living as women and girls in Norway, so I'd like to think of the girls and women globally.
I know that the UN Women's theme for IWD this year is "Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow," which really aligns with my interests and motivations. We know that women and girls worldwide play a crucial role in the change of climate adaptation and for a more sustainable future for all.
So gender equality is crucial for women and girls' well-being and fundamental rights, but also for a better sustainable future for all.
For me, there are two crucial aspects to focus on this year. My thoughts, first of all, goes out to Ukrainian women and children fleeing their home country and having to leave their husbands/fathers/partners/friends behind. Wars have a devastating consequence on women and children with a heightened risk of violence and put them in vulnerable situations with an uncertain future.
The other thing is the current discussions in Norway on how Kvinnegruppa Ottar and Kvinnefronten decided to change who gets to vote on the meetings regarding the 8th of March-march in Norway. Earlier everyone who was not identified as a man could take part in the voting, whereas now they have changed the wording to everyone defined as a woman. This means that they risk excluding non-binary and trans people. We should move toward including more groups of society that we know are struggling with getting their voices heard, not excluding. We also know that many people in the LGBTQIA+ community struggle with mental health issues, and I'm afraid this is not a step in the right direction to help them be accepted in society.
Lastly, we now hear what Jyoti has to share:
To me, International Women's Day is a day to acknowledge and honour women around the world for the contributions we make each day to society.
I want to share some reflections from my background as a child of immigrants. My parents are from India, and they are from a society where men take the role of head of the family while women follow their lead. I know that my life would be very different if they decided not to move to Norway when they did. I am fortunate my parents decided to migrate to Norway and raise me to have my voice and challenge the status quo.
This is also a day for me to reflect on what I have accomplished as a founder and leader and contribute to a future where young girls don't have to fight for their rights in leadership positions. The day is a reminder that there's still more to do with all we have done together.
This year's focus is on the minority of women and the challenges they face while getting into the workforce.
For instance, though many immigrant women lack formal education and skills to enter the Norwegian labor market, it also becomes about family and traditional gender role patterns.
It has been documented that the probability of being called in for an interview for immigrant women is reduced by 16%.
We as a society need to contribute to getting more women with migrant backgrounds out in the workforce. The theme for this year's IWD is to break the bias. There need to be structures implemented to minimize biases in the hiring process. Some norms and prejudices can influence who we hire, but we need to educate and implement inclusive hiring practices.
So, what does International Women’s Day mean to you and what would you like to focus on this year?