March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a day that strives to bring awareness to women’s rights and gender disparities that consistently target women.
This globally recognized holiday is dedicated to celebrating women for their contributions toward “social, economic, cultural, and political achievements,” according to Internationalwomensday.com.
According to the site, the campaign theme this year is #PledgeforParity. The intent is to highlight that women are still undervalued and overlooked when it comes to gender equality regarding issues like education, employment and overall limitations.
“One thing that International Women’s Day does in America is draw attention to international comparisons of how women compare in equality, women’s rights and human’s rights in general,” Honors Program Coordinator Jodi Balma said. “With the gender gap, even in countries we think are pretty close to equality, we still don’t have complete parities.”
Balma also said that America is one out of four countries that doesn’t offer maternity leave, meaning female employees will not be compensated for time off for their pregnancy beyond their earned sick or vacation days.
“When you’re taking care of both the family and work, there is just a tremendous amount of pressure on what is expected,” Balma said. “That’s certainly changing with the way we’re raising our children, but there are still big gaps in what we are able to accomplish and how we treat women.”
According to Forbes, women have an employment-to-population ratio of merely 46 percent as opposed to 72 percent for men. This figure made only a slight improvement of 0.69 percent points since 1995. In terms of higher-ranking careers, women occupied less than one in five tech jobs at companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo and Twitter.
“There have always been a systemic type of sexism, like the issue with women and high-ranking job roles,” Assistant Program Coordinator of Student Diversity Success Initiative John Nguyen said. “Personally, I am all for advocating for justice and social diversity.”
International Women’s Day gave Fullerton College students an opportunity to reflect on their understanding of gender disparities, and spoke on their experience with gender-related issues.
“In my workplace in lifeguarding, where it is heavily male-dominated, I was offered the same pay but less hours than male counterparts until I asked for more,” journalism major Rebecca Radtke said, detailing her personal experience with gender disparities within employment.
Twitter is also celebrating with #internationalwomensday, featuring high-profile celebrities, news sites and women in general updating by the second to bring global awareness about this day.
While it is merely a day, International Women’s Day impacts both men and women on a global basis, initiating multiple sites and associations dedicated to improving the daily conditions for women.