Following a nationwide strike by all female workers in Iceland in October 1975, the UN made International Women's Day official that very same year. The protests by the activist Icelandic women were devised to spotlight the gender inequalities, including the salary pay gap, the pension gap, and other disproportionate job benefits.
The special date has gained more and more traction, with companies big and small around the world in recent years. Everyone has their own spin on the event; some use this as a celebratory opportunity to celebrate incredible women, others use this as an opportunity to pick up the fight for gender equality from the Suffragettes at the turn of the last century.
But as time goes on - with the Iceland walk-out some 50 years' ago now, and the aforementioned Suffragettes campaigning for the right to vote in 119 years' ago - do we still need International Women's Day today?
Personally I've noticed I have A LOT more to do around this time of year. I organise and host the labour-intensive Bloom Presents: International Women's Day events every year. I get invited to talk or host other events. I attend various networking events and lunches and dinners in the flurry of all the activity. And I find myself creating quite a bit more content than I usually would. (Like here, now, typing out this blog post).
Of course all of this is voluntary, but it's on top of my day job running the award-winning Bloom marketing agency, acting as a proud scout for early-stage VC fund, Ada Ventures, and building my own personal profile as a podcast host for Time to Bloom and public speaker with Innovation Women.
While these sceptic thoughts were running through my sleep-deprived mind the other day, it also occurred to me how the burden of gender equality fight sits with women - as well as the burden of gender equality itself.
In the same way I imagine the frustration with people from BAME backgrounds or other minority groups finding themselves somehow obligated to explain and educate to others, might we take a step back and encourage others to do their own homework?
Not only do I endure the pitfalls of being born with a particular set of genitalia that our capitalist society penalises, but now I have to invest so much of my own energy fighting for the equality I should have in the first place?
The other argument against IWD is the fact it's a single day in the year.
Surely every day should be International Women's Day at this point? It's not Christmas, or Easter. Women are here, contributing to the economy, to society, creating life, and raising the next generation every damn day of the year. Why do we just get one?
The fact is that we have not reached gender parity since Emmeline Pankhurst donned her ribbons in 1903, or since those women in Iceland downed tools in 1975. And so a single, annual event provides a much-need prompt for the conversation - a special occasion to catalyse change.
I love running our Bloom events, I love getting passionate about this worthy cause, and I'm so honoured and humbled to be invited to speak to others about the topic. It's this single date in the year that forces these great opportunities to happen.
The conclusion I reached once I got enough sleep was that yes, we do still need International Women's Day, while we still fight for gender equality.
Book your ticket to Bloom's IWD event on Tuesday, 8th March 2022 19:00-20:00 GMT here. All ticket proceeds go to the Ukraine Crisis Fund by CARE.