International Women’s Day is one of the events that receives the greatest international recognition. It has been celebrated for almost a century (according to the United Nations, since 1909). But long before that date there were women in different parts of the world who claimed their role in society and demanded their right to equality. In ancient Greece, in his play Lysistrata, Aristophanes proposed that women go on a sexual strike to end the war. From that time through to the participation of women in labor, suffrage and anarchist movements, there are many examples of women who weren’t willing to keep quiet.
At first, this date was linked to the demand for women’s rights and universal women’s suffrage. Shortly afterward came the fight for an end to discrimination in the workplace and for access to public office. This international day of protest has also been used to make more general petitions of interest to society, for example to demonstrate on behalf of peace and against the carnage of war.
It was not until 1975 that this day began to be celebrated on March 8th. Some people claim this date was selected in commemoration of the 1917 strike by Russian women that helped force the abdication of the czar and the right of women to vote. Others go back further, to that date in 1908 when 146 striking workers in a New York garment factory died protesting their labor conditions.
But what does this day mean now, in 2016? Far from being just a simple commemoration of those earlier achievements, International Women’s Day continues to exercise considerable force in the fight for development and equality. Two years ago, in 2014, the United Nations held debates about the challenges to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls. That gathering dealt with questions like gender equality and development that continue to be dealt with in norms, programs and objectives that have been agreed upon internationally.
The men, women and institutions that carry out commemorative events at this time are seeking equal rights for both sexes. This principle of equality was enshrined in the United Nations Charter of 1945, although in many ways it is still not a reality.
Next March 8th, Margarita Alonso, Director General of the IE Foundation, will moderate a debate among four exemplary IE women at different stages in their careers. It will be held in the Aula Magna at 19:30 hours.
Annick Marie- Jose Janssens (a student in the Master in Management program) is a representative of the IE Women in Business Club and will speak for the younger generation.
Paula Aranegui (IE GSMP alumna 2014) is taking up the challenge of her job as Business Developer for Spain & Portugal market of Meetic.
Valeria Domínguez (IE EMBA alumna 2013), Director of eCommerce & Omni-channel at Adolfo Domínguez, is an excellent example of professional success, as seen by the great sales that the brand has obtained thanks to her management.
Nítida Pastor (IE MBA alumna 1989), Strategy & Medical Affairs European Director at Mead Johnson Nutrition, has had a long career in the field of infant nutrition, about which she has published many works.
Rolando Ober (IE student EMBA 2016), Strategy Project Manager at Accenture, will bring a masculine note to the event, demonstrating that men can make important contributions to equality.
The United Nations proposes a motto or slogan for each Women’s Day. The one for 2016 is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. We have 14 years to make equality a reality and for these demands to no longer be necessary because there will be nothing more to demand. Can we do it?
Women Inspiring Women
IE Business School
C/ María de Molina, 11. Aula Magna
March 8, 2016. From 19:30 to 21:30 hours
Register here: https://clubs.ie.edu/