This Saturday, 8th March 2014, we celebrate the 106th annual International Women´s Day. International Women´s Day, which originated in Chicago, USA in 1908, is an opportunity for to celebrate internationally the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. This day not only gives us a chance to look back on past struggles and achievements and pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of women across the globe, but also to look ahead to what opportunities there are in place for our women of the future.
Linking on nicely form my previous English blog post, 2014 – Year of the businesswoman?, I´d like to use this forthcoming day as an opportunity to take a look at why we really should be celebrating women on an international scale!
In my opinion, I believe we have quite a lot to celebrate this year in terms of women. Below I´ve summed up a few reasons as to why I feel we have a lot to not only feel optimistic about this IWD, but also to feel proud of the women of our world!
As I wrote in my previous blog post, women are generally less associated with senior leadership roles; however this trend is starting to change. Some of the largest, most important companies in the world are showing that they put their trust in women to lead the office. HP, IBM, PepsiCO inc, Yahoo, Burberry and General Motors are all examples of companies that are headed up by women. What´s great is that these female CEO´s show that women are being able to lead businesses in all different sectors and industries, from fashion, to cars, to consumers goods and technology and communication.
Not only are women proving to be more prominent in the business world, we can also see that leaders of some of the most powerful countries in the world are women. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, not only holds a large proportion of the world’s purse strings in her hands, but was also named as Forbes most powerful women in the world and runs the 7th most powerful country in the world. Brazil, who will be hosting two of the largest sporting events in the world in the next few years, is run by Dilma Rousseff, whilst Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Park Geun-hye are presidents of Argentina and South Korea respectively.
Besides Angela Merkel, who is arguably the most powerful woman in Europe, various other highly competent women are in charge of much of the world´s wealth. Janet Yellen was made chair of the US Federal Reserve Board and Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund.
Continuing along the money theme, we are seeing more and more wealthy women these days. There was a 25% increase from 2013 to 2014 of women included on the Forbes billionaires list (172 out of 1,645). This number is even more impressive if we look at the change from two years ago, where there has been an increase of 60%!
Breaking new ground
As we saw in the section about women CEO´s, the powerful women of the world are not based purely in one or two industries, but spread across a wide range. History is being made in Finance and Economics, in which women previously lacked behind in. Other sectors where women were less dominant in, such as Computer Science, are seeing a lot more interest from women – especially in terms of University degrees and majors.
Inspiring the world
We have all been inspired by watching TED talks, and of the top 5 most viewed TED talks posted online, 3 are given by women. Both men and women are really listening to what other women have to say. Women are also getting more recognition in other places such as the film industry, where this year we saw Saudi Arabia´s best known female film-maker being nominated for an Oscar.
Whilst these points all show that we have lots to celebrate this Saturday for International Women´s Day, we still have to take into account that there is still an awfully long way to go before we see gender equality worldwide. However, we have chosen to take a positive look towards this topic!
So if you´re a women, be proud and make sure you celebrate this Saturday and if you´re a man then be proud as well and make sure you help the women in your life celebrate!
Find out more here.