WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Organization for Women takes this International Women’s Day to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world and the obstacles we have had to overcome on the journey.
This year has been a difficult one for women, who have been hard-hit by the physical, emotional, and financial damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic. Women working essential jobs in hospitals and nursing homes risk their lives every day to save others. Domestic violence and intimate partner abuse are on the rise. Job losses have reversed much of the progress that women have made in the workforce over the last decade, and have done disproportionate harm to women of color and low-income women.
In this context, it is worth remembering that International Women’s Day began as a women’s labor strike against sex discrimination in the workplace and for equal pay for equal work, along with political causes such as the right to vote and the right to hold public office. It’s this kind of powerful collective organizing that will empower women around the world to fight for the equality and justice we deserve.
Along with victories in the United States, such as the election of the first woman vice president, Kamala Harris, women around the world have also accomplished so much. Women in public office, like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, have led countries through the pandemic crisis with minimal damage. Also in New Zealand, Ardern appointed Nanaia Mahuta to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the first time a woman (and a Māori woman) has held that position. On the other side of the globe, the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted to make Scotland the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products in public buildings like schools and universities. And barely a month ago, Argentina became the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion.
This year has shown that even when we’re up against the worst, women around the world can band together and organize for our rights, our health, and our empowerment. NOW and our grassroots activists will carry this hope into the next year as we continue to fight for women everywhere.