Culture & Lifestyle / #PressForProgress On International Women’s Day 2018

#PressForProgress On International Women’s Day 2018

Culture & Lifestyle Mar 05, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018  (IWD/#IWD2018), is recognized around the world on March 8, 2018 to celebrate the accomplishments of women “…without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.” We take a closer look at how this movement is especially poignant in today’s climate. 



Before we dive in, to better understand where the movement is going, it’s crucial to grasp its beginnings. And so, it’s time for a quick jog down memory lane: IWD was first celebrated on a national level on February 28, 1909 in respect and recognition of demonstration by female workers about their job environment in”…the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.

Next, in 1910, following The Socialist International conference in Copenhagen, the idea for an International Women’s Day was introduced “…to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.” Later, according to the UN, between 1913-1914, on March 8, IWD was used by women in Russia to rally and push for peace during the first World War. Thereafter, March 8 became the universal date of observance for IWD, with the United Nations officially recognizing the day in 1975, which, coincidentally, was during International Women’s Year.


International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day 2018: Marches, talks, and networking events are commonplace on IWD. Photo Credit:


At Present:

It’s important to note that IWD does not belong to any specific group or organization, instead it allows different institutions and governments to work with each other to help achieve the goals of the movement. For instance, this year the overarching theme of the campaign, which is then adopted by groups who do work based on the theme throughout the rest of the year, is #PressForProgress.

The theme was selected, with the findings of the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report results as its underlying fire, which highlighted that “gender parity is over 200 years away.” To be clear, gender parity contrasts a specific statistic between men and women, such as income, and the results are staggering as”the average pay for women in 2017 was $12,000, compared with $21,000 for men.”

But, it’s not just about the money, it’s the underlying and embedded justifications that fuel this disparity that is most problematic and requires reform. Thus, in 2018, IWD will #PressForProgress by working toward combatting gender parity.


International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day 2018: This year’s theme is #PressForProgress. What does that mean to you? Photo Credit:


Understanding The Hashtags:

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s get into the nitty-gritty: this year, IWD is reflective of so much more, in terms of the progress it is pressing for, especially in light of the viral anti-sexual harassment movement, #MeToo, and the push to tackle “systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace” with the powerful #TimesUp crusade.


International Women's Day 2018
#International Women’s Day 2018: 2017 was a year of empowerment for women as many courageously shared their stories in order to expose the injustices that women continue to face. Photo Credit:
Arguably, what has helped to open the door for conversations and initiatives like #TimesUp is the #MeToo movement, which was established in 2006 by social activist, Tarana Burke, who, “as a survivor of sexual assault…wanted to do something to help women and girls of color who had also survived sexual violence.” This was especially important to her after shutting down when a 13-year-old at a camp she had worked at bravely revealed that she was being sexually assaulted.
This experience spurred Burke’s desire to create #MeToo as she realized that what aided her in surviving her own sexual assault was the empathy she had received from other survivors. I believe that this empathy is at the heart of the rallying #MeToo movement as it gives women the strength to speak out about their experience as they have a community they can rely on for strength, hope, solidarity, and support.
International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day 2018: Time Magazine featured “The Silence Breakers” who have spoken out about their experiences with sexual harassment, including Tarana Burke, who coined “Me Too,” which has had a significant impact on the conversation surrounding the movement.  Photo Credit:
Fast-forward to 2017 when #MeToo would soon after explode on social media following the brave and eye-opening expose, published by The New York Times on October 5, 2017, which featured actress and survivor, Ashley Judd, along with other women, who accused media tycoon, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual harassment. Then on October 23, 2017 The New Yorker went even further with more women coming forward and the unveiling of the systematic patterns of abuse and coverups withthose in Weinstein’s orbit.
This was the catalyst that set in motion actress, Alyssa Milano’s, tweet, which reawakened the power of the words #MeToo. In response to her tweet, within 24 hours, over “30,000 people had used #MeToo” in reference to their experience with sexual harassment or assault.
International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day 2018: Milano’s tweet helped to highlight the magnitude of the problem women face today, but the work to combat the patriarchal and misogynist ideals that are embedded into the fabric of society is only beginning. Photo Credit:
From there, the hashtag empowered many women to come forward with allegations that shed light on their disheartening experiences and exposed their aggressors. As well, #MeToo has given rise to social work, marches, and crucial conversations that are working to express the repressed anger over what has happened to too many women in order to move toward social change by way of reforming what behaviours of acceptable.
In relation, the South Asian community suffered a huge loss on February 24, 2018, with the tragic passing of Sridevi Kapoor. In light of IWD, it is important to recognize Kapoor, an iconic female leader in Bollywood, who was constantly pushing the envelope with the roles she took on that often challenged the social and cultural norms often imposed on South Asian females.
In addition, Kapoor fought “…for screen time on par with her male co-leads, as well as equal pay.” More than that though, Kapoor won this fight as “…was one of the only women in Bollywood who could lead a film without a male co-star – something incredibly rare in Indian cinema,” thus demonstrating that change is possible when you #PressForProgress.
International Women's Day 2018
International Women’s Day 2018: Sridevi Kapoor was a trailblazer in her own right who certainly pressed for progress by fighting for what she deserved throughout her career. Photo Credit:
Looking Ahead: 
It is an exciting time to be a woman as our voices are coming together to fight against deeply ingrained and damaging patriarchal and misogynistic norms that allow women to be undervalued and have, for too long, caused them to suffer alone in silence.
And so, with all of this important work going on, this year, more than ever, it is crucial to get involved, to pay attention, to get educated and involved in the conversation, and #PressForProgress that is desperately overdue for women all over the world.
Main Image Photo Credit:
Devika Goberdhan

Devika Goberdhan


Devika (@goberdhan.devika) is an MA graduate who specialized in Political Science at York University. Her passion and research throughout her graduate studies pushed her to learn about and unpack hot button issues. Thus, since starting ANOKHI in 2016, she has written extensively about many challengi...


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