Year after year, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day the world over. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women while highlighting the problems they face in day-to-day life as well as in the professional environment. The day also marks as a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
This year, #IWD is being specially marked to highlight the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Writing about the #IWD2021 theme, Neelanjan Chakraborty says: It highlights how women can be equal partners in decision-making processes, especially those regarding policymaking. This year, the need of the hour is to bring to light the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlight the gaps that remain. According to the United Nations, only three countries in the world have 50% or more women in parliament. Women are Heads of State in only 22 nations. In fact, globally 119 countries have never had a woman leader as a Head of State.
UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all.”
Neelanjan Chakraborty continues: “One thing which the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that when women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. They are even on the forefront of humanity’s battle against the pandemic. Be it as front-line and health sector workers, or scientists, doctors, and caregivers. However, recent data released by the United Nations reveal an alarming disparity. These women frontline workers are getting paid 11% less than their male counterparts globally. According to United Nations Development Programme, in 2021, around 435 million women and girls are living on less than $1.90 a day. Nearly 47 million women have been pushed to poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also adds that women’s employment is at 19% more risk than men. That’s not all, as per World Economic Forum, while women make up 70% of health sector workers, only 24.7% of health ministers are female”.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has offered a #IWD message and a prayer to use in worship (originally posted on the UCA Assembly website which includes Deidre’s video message for# IWD2021).
PRAYER FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
We thank you for the ways you lead us into freedom and expressions of our fullest humanity.
bless us with courage to follow you in advocating for all those who experience oppression.
Inspire us to shape communities of love, respect and mutuality.
We thank you for women who have led the way in our Church – who have been bearers of your good news through their teaching, preaching, and pastoral care.
We thank you for women who have led the way in calling for gender equality.
We thank you for women who have preserved culture and language and led the way in shaping a vision of society in which all cultures are valued and respected.
We thank you for men who share in partnership with women, in advocating for respectful relationships and a world of equality and mutuality, in which all people can flourish.
We pray for women throughout our world, who experience discrimination, and whose voice is diminished. May their voice be heard.
Through Christ, our Life and Hope,
We pray, Amen.