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University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

Why International Women’s Day Matters

March 08, 2022
Helen Rabello Kras

Blog

In analysis for Political Violence At A Glance, an IGCC-supported blog dedicated to political violence and its alternatives, Helen Kras, Assistant Professor of history and politics at Regis University, analyzes the effects of Women’s Day, including on civil society mobilization, political efforts to combat violence, and reporting in the news media.

Today marks the 45th International Women’s Day since it was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1977, and more than 100 years since the first Women’s Day. One might wonder whether the world still needs a Women’s Day, given progress made in women’s access to the workforce, political representation, and legal protections against gender-based violence. But these gains are not distributed equally around the world. And recent cases like Russia and Afghanistan suggest that progress on women’s rights can be reversed.

Even where women and men are seemingly on equal footing, persistent obstacles to gender equity remain. For example, in only 4 countries are parliaments comprised of at least 50 percent women. In the United States, women still disproportionally carry the burden of unpaid domestic and childcare work and have no guaranteed access to paid parental leave. And gender-based violence—including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and femicide—remains shockingly high in many parts of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated this already bleak picture.

Meanwhile, the invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder of the devastating costs women pay in conflict. Women exposed to armed conflict are especially at risk of experiencing sexual violence, a deterioration in mental health, and higher morbidity and mortality rates.

But does having an International Women’s Day actually make a difference for ordinary women?

Read the full blog post at Political Violence At A Glance