International Women's Day is a day for reflecting on the progress made so far, a time to call for change and to celebrate the acts of courage and persistence by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their communities. Since 1996, this day has brought activists for gender equality together, creating a theme to drive the collective. This year's theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’. Gender inequality is a fight that is nowhere near over, and ‘Choose to Challenge’ perfectly encapsulates the collective thinking we need to harness to drive change, and change the status quo for women on a global scale.
Women & Climate Change:
Did you know women are more likely to be affected by climate change than men? They are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to lack access to healthcare and education, unable to generate personal income or invest in their careers as a result. With less access to basic human rights, women will struggle the most as the climate crisis escalates. In rural areas, women are more likely to undertake chores such as gathering food and water. When climate change makes these resources scarce, it is the women that will further shoulder the burdens.
At the moment, 67% of climate-related decision-making roles are occupied by men. To effectively address climate change, we must ensure women & girls have a seat at the table, wherever climate-related decisions are being made.
'Choose to Challenge':
We’ve put together a few everyday challenges you can do to make sure you’re always pushing for equality:
- Talk about it - the easiest way to define and challenge gender roles is by identifying them openly, and creating conversation around why they should be challenged. Even small things can help, like when someone automatically calls you line manager ‘he’.
- We’re all spending more time than ever in our homes - housework, cooking and chores should be evenly distributed if they can - everyone is home, so there is no excuse.
- Challenge stereotypes you see on TV, in the workplace, in literature and in advertising.
- Be an ally - join support groups - even if you don’t like being outspoken, being there is still supporting!
- Donate to a female charity: such as Mothers 2 Mothers, The Fawcett Society and Imkaan.
- Celebrate your female friends, colleagues idols, those who you look up to, champion them.
- Educate yourself with plenty of resources available, including about intersectionality.
The list could go on forever, and it’s not your job to change the world, but if we can try and rewire the way we view men and women, we’ll start to choose to challenge on a daily basis.
Celebrating the Women on the Front Lines of the Ocean Plastic Crisis:
Now we couldn’t celebrate IWD without celebrating some of the women working with us at OB. There are too many to mention, but we wanted to take this moment to highlight the female Plastic Bank collectors on the frontline of the ocean plastic crisis, working everyday to prevent plastic from entering our ocean. One of these collectors is Kuntari, the star of our OB film, based in Bali. Kuntari challenges stereotypes every day, collecting kilos of ocean bound plastic single handedly, while raising a family with values rooted in the environment. Kuntari actively chooses to challenge, not only as an entrepreneurial woman, but also in terms of the environment. Sadly, those fighting for the planet are still the challengers - not the leaders, and Kuntari is a proud part of that community.
Make International Women’s Day a Part of Your Everyday Narrative:
We have made great progress, but there is still so much to fight for. Let’s make International Women’s Day a part of our everyday narrative. Change isn’t just about the big moments, it’s the way we speak, think and act everyday that can create a knock-on effect. A challenged world is an alert world.