Yesterday was one to the most exciting and influential days to be a woman in 2015; it marked “International Women’s Day 2015”, a day dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and appreciating women from across the planet. Although the new millennium has included several wonderful advancements for women and girls across the globe, the theme of 2015’s International Women’s day was “Make it Happen” recognizing that men and women have yet to reach total gender equality.
According to the World Economic Forum, the global gender gap between men and women will not close for another 80 years. This means an entire generation of women and girls will not know what it is like to live in a world of complete gender equality. Luckily for us, this estimate has been made based on the current pace of change between men and women, and if International Women’s Day taught the world anything, it is that many people are making moves towards equality.
Former US First Lady Hilary Clinton, her daughter Chelsea, and International Women’s Organization Girl Up took the opportunity on IWD to remind the world of that gender equality just is not there yet. The Clinton women collaborated their organization;The Bill, Hilary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, with No Ceiling; a women’s organization started at the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women, to help raise awareness in 2015. Together, both organizations took to social media and removed their profile pictures, changing them instead to a blank female silhouette with a link to Not-There.org – No Ceiling’s website. Several celebrities including Victoria Justice, Jessica Alba, and Kate Upton also took to social media to share the “Not There” message.
Girl Up also took IWD 2015 as a chance to document the incredible support thousands of civilians showed as well. In several major cities throughout the world, including Belfast, Toronto, and New York, men and women of all ages gathered to march and demand gender equality. Two of Girl Up’s teen advisors, Alexa and Annie, joined the crowds in Time Square to represent Girl Up and show their complete support of gender equality.
Emma Watson was also incredibly vocal about her feelings on gender equality on IWD 2015. After launching her own campaign for gender equality called HeForShe just last year, Watson is notoriously vocal about her views of gender rights. According to Watson, after she began speaking about gender equality, a hoax website began threatening to release nude photos of her. The 24-year-old actress told Radio 1 DJ Greg James at Facebook’s London that she was “raging” when she received the threats and that people in her personal life, including her own brother, were quite upset about the threats. However, these threats have only made the Harry Potter actress more passionate about her cause. She told James in her interview, “This is a real thing that’s happening now, women are receiving threats. I was raging, it made me so angry, I was like, this is why I have to be doing this. If anything, if they were trying to put me off it, it did the opposite.”
From celebrities, to politicians, to regular people, it is no secret that gender equality is a hot button issue many have opinions about. While there is a lot of work that needs to be done to reach full gender equality, if International Women’s Day 2015 is any indication of what the future holds, it certainly looks bright.