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  • Writer's pictureFavour Ogbadu

IWD 2024: Investing in Women, Inspiring Inclusion, and Telling Our Stories

Another March, another chance to take part in the annual celebration of International Women’s Day!


This year, the United Nations has set the theme as “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” while the official International Women’s Day (IWD) website announces its theme as “Inspire Inclusion.” Each of this year’s themes have been set as a way to capture the attention of audiences around the world in order to shed a deeper light about ongoing issues.


The United Nations says that $360 billion (US dollars) is needed annually, if the gender equality goal is to be reached by 2030. There is already a deficit. In working to achieve gender equality, and in turn Sustainable Development Goal 5, the multilateral organisation has set out five key focus areas, investing in women – a human rights issue, ending poverty, implementing 'gender-responsive financing', shifting to a 'green economy and care society' and supporting feminist change-makers.


From its theme, it is clear that the United Nations believes that the gap that exists in the world’s development can easily be mitigated if women are prioritised and invested in. In fact, data provided by the UNWomen states that GDP per capita can be increased by 20% if gender gaps in employment are closed. However, if the current trend continues, more that 342 million women and girls could be living in extreme poverty by 2030.

The theme set out by the official IWD website announces that its goal is to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion so that we can forge a better world. Inclusion is its focus as it believes that therein lies the answer to women feeling more empowered and relevant in today's world. Think about it, who better to address an issue than people living through it - women.


The International Women’s Day celebration goes beyond a yearly observation, it started out as a cry for change and all these years later, that is still what it is. We need to ask ourselves, 'what is the point of international days like these?', 'what is their purpose?', we need to ask 'why' because unless we have a sense of their value and believe in the causes they lay claim to, we would never be able to make real impact or even know what real impact looks like.


So, why International Women’s Day in the past, this year, and in years to come?


The answer is simple and is the same for other international days; to tell a story. Like all good stories, a picture is painted, we see the defects and what must be done to make the picture better, into a work of art.

In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to demand for change in society such as shorter working hours, better pay, and voting rights. The next year, a National Women’s Day was celebrated and by 1914, the celebration was fixed on March 8th being celebrated ever since and gaining the United Nations' recognition in 1975.

This celebration isn't a creative way to mark time on our calendars, it stems from a centuries-long movement to create a better world, a more equal world. IWD has had tremendous impact but if there is anything these stories, and the Barbie movie have taught us, it is the fact that there is still more work to be done.


There's no more time for levity, we won't achieve "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress" and "Inspire Inclusion" if we do not take active and intentional steps.  We must realise that we're standing at a crucial point in history, through the IWD we are telling a story, our story. What kind of story do we want the coming generations to read?

So, don't see this year's International Women’s Day as just one more event to celebrate, see it as your opportunity to write a story you will be proud of for generations to come.


DO MORE

  • Engage social media this IWD by using the hashtag #IWD2024 while making a heart pose with your hands.

  • Speak up against discriminatory practices in your social circles and beyond. 

  • Make proactive efforts to include women in activities, especially those with potential economic and developmental benefits. 

  • Educate yourself on the women’s movement in order to be better informed and to inform others.

READ MORE


WRITTEN BY Favour Ogbadu.

Favour Ogbadu is a certified lawyer and an aspiring International development practitioner. An avid reader, her passion for writing stems from her love of written works. She is a firm believer in using talents and skills for the greater good. Connect with Favour on LinkedIn.


EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.


Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer, and international development professional passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform, and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.


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