in News March 8, 2018
Women all over the world are today demanding equality and respect. International Women’s Day (IWD), on Thursday 8 March, focuses attention on the many inequalities that women face in almost all cultures, whether in developed or developing nations.
The BBC started the day by publishing an article with the headline, ‘Eight moments that make it  the Year of the Woman’. It highlights the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against male harassment, the fact that the gender pay gap remains a hot topic, advances for women in countries like Saudi Arabia where they will finally be permitted to drive later this year and many other things.
As the organisers of IWD 2018 say: Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress, motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Equality for women should, of course, mean equality for all women, irrespective of race, ethnicity, class, faith or indeed anything else. It’s vital that, for instance, Muslim women are treated equally and allowed to pursue all lines of work.
In a recent piece for the Guardian, Dr. Ghena Krayem wrote about the need for Muslim women to have their voices heard: ‘All too rarely are Muslim women acknowledged as living, breathing beings, with real voices of our own. Voices that are often raised but rarely heard, let alone listened to. For many Muslim women, to be the understudy in your own story, to be relegated to the wings of life’s stage while others say your lines for you, is our reality.’
Women from all BME and minority faith communities need to make their voices heard and their opinions known. They need to be given – or even better, to create for themselves (where possible) – more opportunities to lead, whether it be in community initiatives, business or politics.
Women in ethnic minorities need to feel a sense of belonging. There is a lack of women representation in the community, in business and in politics. This must change. We need to alter attitudes and break down barriers.
Together, this can be more easily achieved. When we unite, we have more power and vision. We cannot work as effectively in isolation; let’s get out there and integrate, reach out to everyone in our communities, seek out opportunities to participate in positive grassroots projects and help our fellow women to rise up and succeed.
IWD is an incredibly important day. But it isn’t about one day: it’s about galvanizing the spirit of women everywhere to fight for equality and shape a brighter future, all year round. It starts with us, it continues with our communities, and it succeeds with women uniting the world over. As an IWD motto states: ‘Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean.’
in News March 8, 2018