International Women's Day

Hashtags, Marches, and Protests – The Amazing Women’s Movements That Pushed for Progress in 2018

Today is International Women’s Day – a day recognized yearly on March 8th that brings together governments, businesses, charities, and women’s organisations to celebrate women’s achievements and call for gender equality.

The last year has seen so many positive steps for women – in Saudi Arabia women can now drive legally; Spain has the highest number of female minsters in the government’s history; Chile, Ireland, and Argentina have all seen citizens rise up to challenge strict abortion laws; Jacinda Arden became the first elected leader ever to take maternity leave; and a record number of women ran for Congress during the US Midterm elections – the list goes on!

While there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve Goal 5 - Gender Equality – the last 12 months have shown that progress really is possible. Today we’d like to focus on and celebrate some of the amazing women’s movements from around the world that have pushed for progress in the past year. Check out these inspiring stories below.

1.   #TotalShutdown in South Africa

In August 2018, South African women took to the streets in 8 provinces to protest violence against women. Organised by WomenProtestSA, women marched under the rallying cry of “My body, not your crime scene”. This was in response to South Africa’s high femicide rate, which is 5 times more than the global rate. Organizers also called for men to support them by not taking part in any economic activity. The women marched to South Africa’s parliament and Supreme Court, where a memorandum of demands was handed over to the government.

Read more here.

2.   “My Life is Not Your Porn” in South Korea

Tens of thousands of South Korean women gathered in Seoul in August,  

wearing bright red hoodies and carrying signs with “My Life is Not Your Porn” to protest the rise of hidden cameras and spycam porn crimes. From upskirt photos on the subway to images taken from inside public toilets, these crimes have become a major issue, so South Korean women united to protest and demand a government crackdown. 

Read more here.

3. The #MeToo movement gathered force in India

Following the global outrage over Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement arrived in India in 2018, engulfing the media and entertainment industry. Several women bravely come out with stories about harassment and sexual abuse in the workplace. In October, M.J. Akbar, an Indian government minister, resigned after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment. Akbar is the most high-profile figure affected since women in India began naming their abusers on social media.

Read more here.

4. #EducaciónNoSexista in Chile

Sexual harassment cases in Chile’s universities sparked a movement called #EducaciónNoSexista, or a Non-Sexist Education. This movement started as small strikes but turned into a larger protest, with thousands marching in last June through the Chilean capital Santiago, urging for an end to machismo culture. Those marching were protesting sexual harassment and sexist behaviour in universities and schools, since universities in Chile are not legally required to have sexual harassment policies in place. Many held up signs reading"Machismo kills" and called for mandatory gender-equality training for students and faculty.

Read more here.

Want to take action on Goal 5 too? Here are some ways you can contribute to progress on Gender Equality.

  • Find a Goal 5 charity you want to support. Any donation, big or small, can make a difference!
  • If you are a woman, know your rights and stand up for them.
  • Women earn 10 to 30 per cent less than men for the same work. Pay inequality persists everywhere. Voice your support for equal pay for equal work.
  • Be aware of gender stereotypes. Recognize them, avoid them and educate others about them.
  • Stand up against harassment. Whenever you see or become aware of harassment, whether in the workplace, streets, home or the online space, raise your voice against it.
  • Use mentoring and coaching to help women build their confidence and develop their careers. There’s a lot you can learn from women in positions of authority. Or mentor someone yourself!
  • Gender equality starts at home, so share the workload at home. Sharing domestic responsibilities ensures the work burden doesn’t fall only on one person and instils the value of gender equality and essential life skills in children.