The international women’s day celebration is about the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while also making a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”.
The theme is aligned with the UN Women’s new multi-generational campaign, Generation Equality, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the Beijing Platform for Action is recognised as the most progressive road map for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.
The first IWD occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere and it is not country, group or organisation-specific.
The year 2020 is a critical year for advancing gender equality worldwide as the global community takes stock of progress made for women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action.
It will also mark several other galvanising moments in the gender equality movement: a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the 10th anniversary of UN Women’s establishment.
The emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been distressingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world.
According to the UN Women, an entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality.
Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture.
Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces.
Furthermore, there is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains.
In line with the theme, gender activists in Ghana are using the opportunity to call on the government to fast-track the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
The bill, when passed, will go a long way to ensure the achievement of gender equality in political, social, economic and educational spheres in society.
Affirmative Action is a set of needed actions designed to correct the history of systemic discrimination and exclusion of women in the decision-making process.
Barriers such as bias in institutional structures, socio-cultural attitudes and practices have worked against women’s quest for equal participation in politics and decision making.
The passage of the Affirmative Action Bill will accelerate Ghana’s efforts at meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 5 target of gender parity in decision making by 2030 and the African Union Gender Agenda of 50-50 representation of both men and women in decision-making.