International Women’s Day – The theme matters and confusion is reducing the impact

Dorset Women CIC – are calling for the public to take notice of the misleading messages and campaigns being sent out this International Women’s Day.

Taking place on 8th March each year, experts at Dorset Women CIC have raised concerns that the impact of International Women’s Day will be damaged this year amid confusion over its theme,

‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’

United Nations Women 2024

Chosen by the United Nations because of supporting data and evidence alongside global events, the theme centres on accelerating economic empowerment, understanding the ‘care society’, and how women can impact climate change.

Chair of Dorset Women CIC, Marianne Storey says “The International Women’s Day theme is set each year by United Nations Women – the global experts on championing equality for women. A marketing company that runs a website called Internationalwomensday.com promotes a very much more diluted message of #InspireInclusion alongside pictures of women making heart shapes with their hands.”

This message might seem ‘close enough’, but its difference from the United Nations Women theme is extremely important. The official theme suggests that women are powerful leaders of change, given the right investment – that they are essential catalysts for change that improves life and society for
everyone, not just themselves.
In contrast, Internationalwomensday.com suggests that women need to be asked to be included in something which perpetuates a very unhelpful stereotype and is, frankly, a bit patronising.

‘Including’ women is the bottom run of a very long ladder of measures needed to be taken to create equality for women. It IS crucial for particularly disadvantaged or oppressed women who require allyship to bring about change. However, it suggests passivity and helplessness which just reinforces a societal view of women as victims.

Dorset Women CIC are involved in multiple events this year but not hosting a specific event themselves. Marianne went on to explain

“The theme of International Women’s Day this year, more than any other year, reminds us that investing in women is something we all need to do every day, not just on one
day. And so we have decided this year to promote other people’s events, attend as many as we can, and shout about the work we and many others are doing all the time.
There are some fantastic charities and organisations in Dorset doing great things – all the time. They need recognition, they need funds, they need volunteers, and they need investment. So, if people really want to do something for International Women’s Day this year that has a real impact, they could donate to, get involved with or volunteer for a worthwhile cause.”

Marianne Storey Chair Dorset Women CIC

Tracey West, Patron of Dorset Women CIC said “51% of Dorset’s population are women but women in Dorset still experience a 15% gender pay gap compared to their male counterparts. Waiting times for women’s health services are at an all-time high, and women are 85% of the victims of violent crime in the county. We need these opportunities like International Women’s Day to have a proper impact and help improve women’s experiences. This confusion simply doesn’t help.”

Events taking place across Dorset for International Women’s Day can be found
on Dorset Women’s website and the huge number of organisations and people empowering women and girls every day are currently being showcased across Dorset Women’s social media platforms.

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