#IWD2024: Beyond the IWD hashtag – take action to inspire inclusion


By Esther Adobea AKUAMOAH

The year 1911 witnessed a critical moment for women’s equality. Thanks to the collective voice of men and women, International Women’s Day was established, leaving a lasting impact on the fight for gender justice.

Since then, the 8th March of every year has been set aside to globally celebrate women for their social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Besides that, the day is also used to call to action for accelerating equality regardless of race, origin, age, educational background, or financial status.

Over the past decade, the day has been marked by various themes. The purpose of these themes has been to drive conversations on the issues of gender inequality and the security of women. While significant strides have been made in acknowledging and celebrating themes like “Invest in Women” on International Women’s Day, the true impact lies in our ongoing commitment beyond a single day.

The challenge is not just in commemorating the occasion by joining in the hashtags, and taking photos that resonate with the theme of the year but in embodying the values year-round to drive lasting change in attitudes and practices. It’s very crucial to translate these themes into actionable steps, building and promoting an environment of continuous support, empowerment, and inclusivity every day.

Women still face substantial challenges on the path to complete empowerment. This year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion’, calls for collective efforts to bridge the remaining gaps and move toward a truly empowered and inclusive society.

Globally, women continue to face persistent challenges and disparities, despite some progress made. Gender inequality is a complex issue that manifests in various forms, including legal restrictions, workplace discrimination, and violence against women.

The stark realities laid out by the statistics paint a concerning picture of the persistent gender inequalities worldwide. The fact that one in three women experiences gender-based violence, coupled with 2.7 billion women facing legal barriers in job choices compared to men, underlines the depth of these challenges.

The absence of sexual harassment laws in 59 countries and the legal authority given to husbands in 18 countries to prevent their wives from working further emphasize the entrenched disparities.

These disparities can be seen around the world including Ghana where in 2021, the Global Gender Gap Index report ranked it 117th out of 156 countries and 23rd in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report noted that women’s income in Ghana is just 29.2% of that of men, making it the continent’s second-worst after Mali.

Despite the country’s constitution prohibiting gender discrimination, witnessing an increase in its women in Parliament, 40 out of 275 Members of Parliaments are women since 1960 which accounts for about 15% of the total and its ratification of the Maputo Protocol and other international conventions, important efforts are still pending. These include the ratification of ILO Convention 190 and the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.

In recognizing International Women’s Day, it becomes more than a symbolic celebration; it becomes a call to action. It urges us to go beyond mere acknowledgment and prompts us to challenge the status quo. This day should be a catalyst for asking the hard questions, engaging with those in positions of influence, and actively pushing for change in any sphere we find ourselves.

The inequalities highlighted by these statistics emphasize the need for sustained efforts throughout the year. International Women’s Day serves as a pivotal moment to initiate and amplify ongoing discussions, actions, and advocacy efforts geared toward dismantling deeply rooted gender biases. By actively participating in the dialogue, pushing for tangible changes, and societal attitudes, and volunteering with organizations that empower women, we contribute to the broader movement for gender equality.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s ask ourselves: can we truly create a world where everyone thrives if half the population faces persistent inequalities? Let’s dedicate ourselves to creating a world where everyone, regardless of gender, has equal opportunities and rights. Let’s strive towards inspiring inclusion every day.

>>>The writer is a Public Relations Professional, Gender Activist, and Sports enthusiast. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the University of Ghana and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She is currently a Senior Account Manager at Pulse Ghana

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