“It’s sad to see that in this day and age, gender parity is still far from a reality in many parts of the world.” – Sir Richard Branson
Indeed. Except that it’s more than sad, and it’s not yet a reality anywhere. But it will be.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a collective moment taken every year to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. We love it, and appreciate the businesses and organizations that ask us to create custom gifts for their IWD events.
We also love International Women’s Day because we see a huge spike in conversation about the issues we care most about and focus on throughout the year. Whether celebrating accomplishments or taking action on behalf of women’s rights, March 8th represents a powerful force for positive change in the world.
One essential part of that progress is men. It is not enough for women alone to fight for equal opportunities. Men and future men – boys learning gender roles as they grow – must actively participate. In the home, in schools, in government, and at work, play and places of worship. Everywhere.
When we travel, we see the degree to which gender inequality holds back women and girls from success, especially in education, business, media and government. Often the constraints are cultural, which is particularly tough to change. But let’s be frank. Many barriers are born of domination, fear and misogyny.
And yet, there is progress. In Saudi Arabia where women cannot open a bank account without a husband’s permission, let alone drive a car, they voted for first time in local elections this past December. For a country that is among the most repressive, this is a milestone. A human right fought for by women, supported by broadminded men.
So this year we choose to celebrate the many men across the world and all walks of life who not only believe in and support gender parity, but stand up and say so. Loud and clear.
That is why we like HeForShe so much, an organization that emphasizes equality is not just a women’s issue… it is a human issue. Because supporting equal rights and opportunities for women and girls is surely the best way to create a brighter future for all.
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