Today’s Solutions: April 12, 2024

International Women’s Day, observed on March 8 every year, has a rich history that dates back over a century. The origins of this day are disputed, with some claiming it started with socialist women and textile workers in New York in 1909 or was proposed as a global holiday by anti-fascist and socialist leader Clara Zetkin in 1910. It has expanded over time into a significant event marked by demonstrations, marches, and a sea of pink and purple in public locations around the world.

Global celebrations: from streets to boardrooms

In many countries, International Women’s Day is both a celebration and a public holiday. Pink and purple add vibrancy to streets, markets, offices, and public spaces. From Russia, where it is an official holiday, to Italy, where mimosa flowers are shared, the day represents solidarity and a call for gender equality. In the United States, the full month of March is dedicated to Women’s History Month, which honors the achievements of American women.

2024 Theme: ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.’ This subject is consistent with the pressing need to combat economic disempowerment among women worldwide. According to the United Nations, achieving gender equality through the Sustainable Development Goals will cost an additional $360 billion every year. It is a rallying call to prioritize investments that will raise women and girls out of extreme poverty.

5 major strategies for women’s economic empowerment
Resources: close the funding gap

Investing in women’s economic empowerment is both a moral necessity and a strategic move toward societal change. However, there is a large financial deficit, with micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises owned by women globally underfunded by $1.7 trillion. Closing the credit gap would result in a 12 percent rise in average annual income by 2030. Access to financial resources, land, knowledge, and technology is critical for women’s economic empowerment.

Jobs: ensuring equality in the workplace

Quality employment is essential for women’s economic emancipation. Unfortunately, approximately 60 percent of women’s employment worldwide is in the informal market. Gender wage disparities remain, with women getting 80 cents for every dollar earned by males on average. Closing these gaps might result in a 20 percent boost in global GDP. Measures like pay transparency, equal pay for equal labor, and increased representation of women in underrepresented areas are critical steps toward gender equality at work.

Time: changing the way people think about care work

Unpaid care and household duties disproportionately affect women, limiting their time and possibilities. Women spend three times as much time doing unpaid care duties as men. This undervalued labor is predicted to cost $10.8 trillion per year, emphasizing the importance of care system transformation. Investing in care services allows women to recover their time, simultaneously creating jobs and increasing economic engagement.

Security: protecting women 

Women’s economic empowerment is inextricably linked with their security. Gender-based violence, conflict, food hardship, and a lack of social safety are all risks to women worldwide. Violence against women alone damages the world economy $1.5 trillion. Implementing gender-responsive social protection systems and addressing societal norms that promote violence are critical steps toward securing women’s safety and economic development.

Rights: advocating for legal and policy reforms

Human rights are at the heart of women’s economic empowerment. Globally, women have only 77 percent of the legal rights that men do. Legal and policy reforms that promote women’s economic empowerment, as well as the removal of discriminatory legislation, are critical. Protecting women human rights defenders, documenting abuses, collecting sex-disaggregated data, and amplifying women’s voices in decision-making environments are all important steps toward achieving true gender equality.

 

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