INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and is recognized March 8, annually. It has grown to be a day of recognition of women’s successes and a call to action to support women’s rights and to advance gender equality.

The world has witnessed a significant change and attitude shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics, globally in education, and violence against women is worse than of men. Achieving a gender-equal world requires social innovations that work for both women and men and leaving no one behind.

The United Nations theme this year is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change.’ It means building smart solutions that go beyond acknowledging the gender gaps to addressing the needs of men and women equally.

We need to hear everyone’s story, thoughts and ideas to achieve a foundation for change; where no voice is unheard. We need to teach boys (in particular, young men) a healthier masculinity by encouraging boys to express a full range of emotions, discuss stereotypes and their impact, model and teach consent and promote kindness and empathy.

The unique needs of women and young girls of equity-seeking groups need to be recognized, and young girls everywhere need to be empowered to bring innovative ideas forward and to be leaders for change as our struggle continues.

Let’s create a gender equal world where we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. We need to challenge stereotypes, broaden perception, and change situations. An equal world is an enabled world. Collective action and shared responsibility is the key to a gender-balanced world.

Lisa Pilato

Thunder Bay

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(Originally published March 7, 2020)

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