Today is International Women’s Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved and recommit to what still needs to be done.
In Britain this year we have celebrated the centenary of some women getting the vote for the first time, and recommitted to achieving political equality in and out of Parliament.
Much has been achieved, but much has still to be done.
It was previous Labour governments that:
- Introduced Britain’s first ever national minimum wage;
- Created over 3,000 Sure Start Children’s Centres;
- Raised universal child benefit to a record high
- Introduced the Equality Act that modernised legislation to bar discrimination against women in the workplace.
However, it is the Tory government that continues to push through economic policies that have a disproportionately detrimental impact on women and risk rolling back decades of gains.
And we must remember the ‘international’ in International Women’s Day. The United Nations is committed to ensuring that by 2030 all girls and boys across the world complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.
The UN points out that a quarter of the world’s population is women living in rural areas. It says that the time is now to focus on transforming these lives.
In the UK, we may take for granted the fact that our schools and education systems are open to boys and girls, that is still not the case in too many parts of the world where, like here in the past, it is a right that has to be struggled for.
The UN is also calling for an end all forms of discrimination and violence against all women and girls everywhere, including trafficking and sexual exploitation and harassment.
What we have seen this year is a new determination to end sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace. Celebrities and film stars have been making the headlines, but the #metoo campaign has given many women in all industries and workplaces a renewed confidence to challenge oppressive practices.
Of course, what benefits women benefits everyone. Votes for all. Education for all. Workplaces free from bullying and societies free from sexual exploitation are good for us all.
I will be sharing experiences and celebrating today with women in Liverpool at Blackburne House where health, social inclusion, arts, craft, good food, good company and friendly debate and discussion are on offer, free, from 10am-1pm. You can out more by clicking here.
I wish everyone a wonderful International Women’s Day and let’s all recommit ourselves to a fairer, more equal world free from discrimination.