International Women’s day has been celebrated on March 8th since 1911, making this year’s IWD – with a theme of Choose to Challenge – the 110th such occasion: not the first to occur during a pandemic, then, but certainly the first to be celebrated online because of one.
The day grew out of the Labour movement all those years ago, with its basis in the demand for better pay and working conditions for women, which were then appalling. And, although equal pay legislation was successfully passed more than 50 years ago in the UK in 1970, the gender pay gap has never closed to this day, currently standing at 15-20%.
It is difficult to be precise about the current figures, since – despite evidence that women were suffering disproportional financial disadvantage in the past year of lockdown and Covid struggle – the government have paused the legal obligation to provide gender pay gap reports during the pandemic, something Brighton & Hove Labour definitely Choose to Challenge.
Women have been extremely visible over the last extraordinarily difficult year, and continue to make up the vast majority of frontline workers as cleaners, nurses, care providers, doctors, healthcare assistants, teachers, supermarket workers etc and continue to need all our support as much as ever in the ongoing battle for the gender equality that remains stubbornly, frustratingly, just out of reach.
So, join us in choosing to challenge every inequality in status or pay, every lazy assumption about what we can and can’t do, every disadvantage you witness, not just today but every day – the fight goes on!
Councillor Amanda Evans, Labour Group lead for equalities.
Image: International Women’s Day