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International Women’s Day 2019: The Fight for a Gender-Balanced Society

What is International Women’s Day and its fight about? Elizabeth Symington investigates what the day means to the women of UON.

What is International Women’s Day and Why Is it Still Important?

International Women’s Day is observed around the world today, on the 8th of March every year and celebrates women’s achievements and the struggle for gender equality. The day highlights how far we have come and how far we still have to go, it fights for women’s rights and explores ways we, as a society, can help achieve equality.

The day has been recognised and celebrated since the early 1900s when 15 000 women marched through New York City fighting for not only gender equality but also better pay and voting rights.

Over 100 years later and the goals those 15 000 women set out still haven’t been fully achieved; although we are getting closer, the fight and their principles still remain.

The day is still celebrated universally because these goals have not been accomplished, but the fight is definitely not over for women’s education, health, job opportunities and pay are still not equal to men. It may not be as obvious here in Australia, but the fight for women is even further behind in other less developed countries.

What is this Year’s Theme?

This year’s theme #BalanceforBetter is looking toward building a gender-balanced world, that is inclusive of all. The day is striving for gender-balanced business, media coverage, employees and gender balance in government. Essentially, the overall goal is to achieve a gender balance in any social, political and work settings you can think of.

We can all take action to help achieve this balance, it doesn’t have to be worldwide or over the top; just stand up for what is right and support those taking place in this fight, the future is still undecided and exciting, so why not have an effect on it?

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day and the desire for gender equality still affects so many today, and it is a fight that will continue until true equality has been achieved. I asked some students at UON what International Women’s Day means to them and their responses show just how important this day and fight for gender equality is.

“For me, International Women’s Day is a day to not only celebrate but acknowledge that actions of strong women that have led us to enjoy the many freedoms we have today. It’s about casting a light on the many things we have achieved, but most importantly, what we still have to achieve.”- Sanziana Timis (Bachelor of Communication)

“International Women’s Day is a celebration of women and being a woman, it is really important especially with ‘Captain Marvel’ coming out on IWD it shows us we can be powerful and do anything we set our minds to. But it also serves as a massive reminder that we are still considered second-rate citizens.”- Tyler Bridges (Bachelor of Business and Law)

“I think International Women’s Day is a great way to support and show appreciation to all strong women in your life. Even though we shouldn’t need a specific day to do this (why not every day of the year?) It’s a great way to look back through history and appreciate all the strong, independent and creative women who contributed to where we stand today.” – Ella Gore (Bachelor of Psychological Science)

“For me, International Women’s Day is a reminder of how far we have come on the path to equal opportunity. There is an ever-increasing presence of women in the world of science, technology, engineering and maths, and I believe a world in which both men and women are working together to achieve great things for the betterment of society is something to be celebrated. – Paige Collison (Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours))

“For me, IWD is both a day to come together to celebrate women but also a critical and important reminder that women remain desperately unequal to men in almost every context. When I was younger I used to love the fact that we have a day to, as a nation, collectively recognise this but as I’ve grown I’ve realised that the day itself is becoming more and more tokenistic. With 69 women killed by male violence last year and stark under-representation in parliament and leadership positions, what does the day actually achieve and shouldn’t we be putting more money and energy into DV prevention schemes and programs enabling women to break through the glass ceiling that so obviously still exists? Instead of waiting until March 8th every year to think about gender equality, why not every day?”- Hollie Hughes (Bachelor of Communication and Law)

“International Women’s Day to me is a chance for all women from all walks of life to be acknowledged and use their voices that may in everyday situations be drowned out. This is especially important to me as a woman in STEM  as it gives women who may have otherwise gone unnoticed a chance to be acknowledged and supported.” – Jamie White (Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering)


This fight for gender equality and a gender-balanced world will only continue until we all get involved – this isn’t just a female issue it is a human issue. Every single day women around the world are pioneering for change, fight and believe in women and you can help.

 “It isn’t enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now.”- Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

Feature Image: T.Chick McClure, via

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