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International Women's Day: History and significance

International Women's Day: History and significance

The upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the status of women should draw attention to the rights and activism of women of all ages residing in rural and urban areas in keeping with this year's UN theme for International Women's Day, "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives".

And it couldn't be more adept to developing nations like India and its women. Is gender equality an anomaly?

For instance, the United Nations, which will observe the day with a speaking event at its headquarters in New York City, defined IWD 2018's mission as "an opportunity...to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women's rights and realize their full potential". All while hundreds of women took a stand against sexual harassment (yeah, you'll remember that speech from Oprah, and the subsequent galvanising of the 'Time's Up' movement that came with it). While in opposition, we will put this proposal to a public consultation to obtain feedback from businesses, workers, women's organisations, trade unions and relevant non-departmental public bodies to ensure we are ready to introduce the policy when we walk into Downing Street.

Hear the audio special at the bottom of this article. It was in the hard conversations I observed amongst my friends and broader networks; places where these conversations had never gained much traction. It wasn't until I got into my thirties I started to realise that perhaps it's a bit different to other places. They are closely involved in the socio-political, socio-economic, scientific, cultural, and other aspects of life and enjoy the same legal rights as men.

One of my early career highlights was as a young intern working in the business, when I was able to take a vehicle home for the first time to my mum and tell her, "Hey mum, here is this little storage compartment in the back of the centre console - it used to click and now it doesn't, and that's all me". I say simply because, indeed, it is not hard.

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My team is predominately male, but that's changed recently.

Personally, it's been a day on which I reflect on those times I've felt the weight of a gendered world - the times I've felt silenced, the moments I've felt unsafe, the times I've felt like I've needed to "be more man" to succeed. In a bit more of a way than you might be naturally comfortable in doing so. I was moved to see the engagement by the students this morning, particularly in their speeches and their expression of the subject matter through art, today was both positive and encouraging.

Share the responsibility of creating safe environments for vulnerability to be freely expressed.

The focus and the consistency both from Mark Bernhard and Ashley Winnett (Executive Director of Human Resources) have been quite intense. The sooner we change the way we collectively think about gender issues, the sooner it will be impossible not to resolve them. We know it isn't everyone but it shouldn't be anyone.