Women in pink “pussyhats” march along a street in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward carrying placards on March 8.
March 8 is a couple of days away and while it is just another day to some, women around the world wait in anticipation to celebrate their achievements and campaign for gender equality.
International Women’s Day (IWD), was originally known as International Working Women’s Day, and was birthed in 1908 as a result of the oppression and inequality suffered by women, which in turn spurred a vociferous reaction about their stance. That same year, 15,000 women marched demanding shorter working hours, better pay and voting rights.
Despite great strides taken by several associations focused on gender equality and the international women’s rights movement over the years, countless women and children around the world are still trafficked into forced labor, sex slavery or are given off as child brides. Access to education and voting rights denied and prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives, these amongst many other factors are some of the challenges faced by both women and children, young and old, on a daily basis.
In Japan, a very common term would be Women’s Empowerment and a considerable number of associations stand in the gap to raise awareness on issues faced by working mothers and women in Japan. Yet Japanese women do not only stand for themselves on this special day, but also have in mind girls and women all over the world through events such as Walk In Her Shoes a charity walk hosted by CARE International Japan, a foundation that focuses on support activities to alleviate the plight of women and children in developing countries.
This year, the theme is #BeBoldForChange. Women have the power to change their world, and we all have the power to help them do it.