International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day from It’s a Girl Thing! We celebrate this day to reflect on the lives of women around us. Our aim as an organization is to empower women; but why do women need to be empowered?


·      87,000 women are killed every year just because they are women

·      Of those, 50,000 are killed by their male partners or family members – and those are only the deaths we know about

·      111 countries have no repercussions for husbands who rape their wife

·      2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men

·      45 countries do not have specific laws against domestic violence

·      35% of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence


The 2021 International Women’s Day theme is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. Today we are celebrating all women, all their diversity, and all their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. To name a few amazing female leaders, Anna Wintour – Editor-and-chief of Vogue since 1988,  Sara Blakley - American Businesswoman, founder of Spanx, Lupita Nyong’o - Actress and named among Africa’s “50 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes in 2020, and Kamala Harris - The first female Vice-President of America (See pictures below).


Although we have seen many powerful women begin to change the world through their leadership, the Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment (WAVE) addresses the barriers to accessing leadership that women continue face. In their recent research study on female leaders in Asia-Pacific, WAVE tells us that the barriers women face are the discriminatory gender norms.


Because women are traditionally seen as caregivers, rather than leaders, women face more criticism for their “mistakes”, and for the fact that they stepped out of their caregiver roll to pursue a leadership role. In many cases, these gender norms are perpetuated through physical, psychological, and sexual violence.


“Social norms that socialise women to adopt submissive and subservient forms of behaviour have often resulted in women’s restricted access to food, land, assets, finance, technology, education, training, and economic opportunity in many societies” – WAVE (2020).


We see this extortion of women in many developing countries where there are few public policies to promote women in leadership or to protect women in leadership against violence. But we also have to acknowledge that these gender norms still persist in developed societies as well. Many studies have shown that the gender wage gap is due to women choosing roles that pay less than the roles that men choose, or that women just naturally prefer roles that aren’t leadership roles. Women are naturally more passive, quieter, submissive, weak, and not fit for leadership. In order to further empower women, we need to go deeper and ask, “Why are women choosing these roles?” If we as a society still have the expectation that women should have children, and should want to have children, and caring for their family is their inherit purpose, then we are still stuck behind these barriers.  


The research study by WAVE shows that many women become leaders because A) they are motivated to be agents of change, B) they want to create a better path for future woman leaders, and/or C) they want to speak for themselves. Women become leaders by resisting and challenging discriminatory gender norms and demonstrating their own capacity for leadership.


Read the full research report here .


It’s a Girl Thing is happy to celebrate all those who identify as women, all the achievements of women, and all future achievements of women.