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Empowering women

Empowering women
Yet another International Women's Day (IWD) has come and gone but to what genuine use has it been to women across the globe?
The fact that the International Women's Day is observed and celebrated with some enthusiasm in various parts of the world, including India, is nowhere close to being enough to look into the genuine problems of gender equality and so much more. Over the past few years, however, IWD has become a corporate-backed, global rallying day for women's issues with a key goal—to finally bring about gender parity around the world. The day had its real origin at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, where more than 100 women from 17 countries decided to establish a worldwide day of celebration to press for working women's demands. In fact, the Russian Revolution has the International Women's Day to thank. The 1917 demonstrations by women demanding "bread and peace" sparked other strikes and protests, which led to the abdication of Czar Nicholas II four days later and granted women the right to vote. What shook everyone up was the fact that in 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted "the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186. This is far too long to wait. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity." Women are still far from equal in just about any place in the world.
According to the United Nations' 2015 report on the progress of the world's women, the gap between women and men remains particularly stubborn on issues of work. Women do more unpaid household work than men and get paid less when they do work in the formal economy. The 'developed countries', for their part, do not face the same abysmal maternal mortality rates, rampant human rights abuses, and other challenges that impoverished regions do. Spending more on international aid directed at women and girls can help them rise out of poverty while also bringing their families and communities up with them. Spending more on social safety net programmes such as paid family leave and universal child care helps women participate more equally in the workforce, sparing them the choice between making a living and caring for their family. Helping women gain political power can help empower other women and girls, ensuring that women's issues receive priority in policymaking. With International Women's Day and A Day Without a Woman, it is hoped that an awareness would be raised to make it clear that this really is a cause worth protesting and fighting for. And, for actual awareness, education in the backward and neglected regions is an absolute must.

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