Over the past year there have been a number of major breakthroughs for women’s empowerment, the theme for International Women’s Day in 2018 is #press for progress, let’s make this happen.
International Women’s Day is politically rooted in strikes and protest and grew out of the labour movement in the America, in 1908 15, 000 women took to the streets or New York demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later the first national day of the women was announced by the Socialist Party of America.
In 1910 Clara Zetkin suggested that the day be made international at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed unanimously.
Today International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The past year has been a turbulent and trying year for women, however with the ever growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support it looks that there could be significant changes on the horizon.
The women’s movement has taken a dramatic shift into the mainstream due to the culmination of a number of significant events that have taken place largely across the last eighteen months. Events such as the women’s marches, the Weinstein scandal that unearthed the that sexual harassment and violence are endemic and normalised across society and all industries, made plane by the Oxfam scandal, in addition there has been a significant focus on the gender pay gap.
A pivotal moment in the past year emerged after the Weinstein scandal, the #metoo campaign across social media and the subsequent #timesup campaign both have gained huge traction and have opened the floor allowing women to be empowered and open up and share their stories.
However, it must be noted that there still exist a significant lack of a platform for women of colour to become empowered to the same degree as their white counter parts. In 2018 racism operates in a covert manner, this is best explained through domestic violence services in which there exists an disparity in the ability of BAME women accessing help, there are a number of additional barrier that prevent or hinder access. The experience for many BAME women when attempting to access domestic violence services or statutory agencies is compounded by racism and stereotyping.
This is why the work we do at JAN Trust is so vital. We support and provide services to women in hard to reach communities at a grassroots level. JAN Trust supports women to integrate into wider society and become active citizens, providing a much-needed safe space for women where they can support each other, and empower themselves and their families. We are committed to combatting marginalisation, extremism, hate crime and violence against women, by working with Black, Asian, minority ethnic, and refugee (BAMER) women through a number of educational projects. All of the work we do enables women to use their voices to share their stories!
Moving forward we must begin to recognise that women are not a homogenous group, and therefore do not share the same experiences and challenges and exists across a number of intersections. Therefore we must start by trying to empower the women with the biggest number of intersections.
The past year has seen a number of major breakthroughs for women’s rights across the globe, and 2018 is a time to build on these advances. It is paramount that we draw on the resilience of the women’s movement, a fight back in the face of harassment and hate.
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