The fight for women’s rights is one that has gone on for decades. Thanks to the efforts of countless brave women worldwide in spreading awareness, its army of supporters has only grown in strength and numbers over time. The last Sunday of February (which fell on 8th March on the Gregorian calendar) marks an important date for the cause in 1917 as it is on this day that Russian women were granted the right to vote. The day was declared an official holiday in Russia and this was adopted by other countries including China, Afghanistan, Nepal and Mongolia. In 1977, the holiday was recognised by the United Nations (UN) which has set annual themes since then to shed light on the different current issues women face. For 2021, the official UN theme for International Women’s Day is: ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.
Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry.
This year’s theme for the International Day, “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.United Nations (2021)
Despite the major triumphs the women’s rights movement has achieved, the battle is far from over. In Malaysia, the Sexual Harassment Bill which would act as a measure to create safer environments for women is yet to be passed into law. In terms of global gender-based gaps as of 2020, Malaysia ranked 104 out of 153 countries, making it one of the countries with the largest gender gaps in South East Asia according to the Global Gender Gap Report by World Economic Forum (WEF). A list and brief overview of prominent women’s rights organisations in Malaysia can be found here.
The Kalsom Movement would like to extend our support towards all women who have had to make their way with the odds stacked against them. On all days but especially today, we appreciate and celebrate you.
Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.Jo March, Little Women (2019)