On Tuesday, March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. According to the United Nations, the day is meant to be a time to call for change, reflect on progress made, and celebrate the courageous, determined, and ordinary women who have played a major role in the history of their countries and communities.
The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” One key issue on the agenda was eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls everywhere. Among other things, that means taking steps to eliminate the gender wage gap.
According to the International Business Times, women working in the United States make 79 cents for every dollar men do. President Barack Obama is trying to help close that gap. When speaking on the gender wage gap earlier this year, Obama said, “The notion that somehow we would be keeping my daughters […] or any of your daughters, out of opportunity, not allowing them to thrive in every field, not letting them fully participate in every human endeavor—that’s counterproductive. That’s not how we’re going to build a great future for our country.”
This isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, and it isn’t something that only women should be fighting for. It’s important for both men and women to recognize the importance of gender equality. It’s equally important that you teach your children the importance of treating everyone equally.
To take part in the drive toward gender equality and ending the wage gap, Margie Warrell with Forbes asks readers to consider what you can do to advance yourself and other women and help create stronger incentives for change. Reflect on where your biases may be adding to the challenges women face. Encourage the women you work with and your sisters, daughters, and nieces to take more chances, take control, and take initiative.
According to the International Women’s Day website, both men and women can help achieve gender equality more quickly by helping women and girls “achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.”
In some workplaces, being a woman can be difficult. Long-entrenched gender biases can be hard to overcome, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up striving for equal treatment. If you’ve ever struggled or felt anxious about your workplace or someone you work with, you might benefit from talking with a therapist. Taking steps to overcome inequality can be very empowering.