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International Women’s Day on March 8 marks a day of honoring women and the pursuit of heightening the social, economic and political achievements of women globally.

This year participants are marking their celebrations using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge and #InternationalWomensDay.

“A challenged world is an alert world,” the International Women’s Day website reads. “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.”

International Women’s Day first began in 1911 and moved to March 8 in 1913. The United Nations began observing the day in 1975 and added themed celebrations in 1996.

With challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic, many are opting for digital based celebrations across the globe. However, others feel it is the perfect time to advocate for gender equity, where women are still fighting for basic human rights, access to education, eliminating the wage gap and reproductive justice.

A new study by accounting software firm Freshbooks polled women business owners in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic which found that women-owned businesses take three times longer to recover from the financial setbacks brought by COVID-19. Nearly 60 percent of women polled said it will take them longer than 6 months to recover their businesses, in comparison to 47 percent of men.

On Monday poor and low-income residents of West Virginia, California, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama and Michigan in coalition with the Poor People’s Campaign, faith leaders, legislators and workers unions to advocate for the $15 minimum wage hike. The current federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 and remains an important challenge in the movement for wage equity.

Women, Black communities and other communities of color are disproportionately affected in states that refuse to offer a living wage. It contributes to the cycle of poverty, where women are already at a disadvantage due to the wage gap.

“Nationally, more than 140 million poor and low-income people live in the United States, or 43% of the country’s population, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from The Poor People’s Campaign reads. “The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, with organizing committees in 45 states, is building a moral fusion movement to address the five interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism and a distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

Refugees International recently launched a call to action for the Biden-Harris administration to focus their efforts around protecting, empowering and assisting “marginalized women and girls the globe.” Their efforts center around policy and legislation which includes “domestic and global policies and commitments directed broadly on gender equity and women include a focus on the needs and rights of displaced women and girls, and policies and commitments directed broadly on refugee protection and humanitarianism include a gendered analysis of their impact on the rights and interests of women and girls. ”

On Monday Biden signed two executive actions promoting gender equity. The first action re-established the formation of a Gender Policy Council within the White House, which was formed by the Obama administration and eliminated under Trump. The second aimed at reversing regulations which offered more rights and protections against those accused of sexual assault and harassment, rather than the victims.

To find out where celebrations are being held near you, you can click here.


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