On March 8, it is celebrated the International Woman Day. With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress, the theme of International Women’s day 2018 campaign. And with global activism for women’s equality fueled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.

So now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity.

Report Shows Urgent Action Needed

Gender parity is an important achievement that strongly influences whether economies and societies advance. Successfully harnessing and mobilizing half of the world’s total talent pool has a huge impact on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and organizations across the globe.

The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries regarding their progress on gender parity via four main themes: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. There’s also data around the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

Unfortunately, data shows that the gender gap is widening, so there desperately needs to be new ways of thinking if the world is to close the gender gap. Progress is regressing and moving backwards. Instead of taking 170 years to close the gap at the current rate of progress, it is estimated that gender parity across the world will take over two centuries, 217 years to be exact.

Women Leaders Hire More Women

Could the key to closing the gender gap be though putting more women in charge? While women worldwide are closing the gap in critical areas such as health and education, significant gender inequality persists in the workforce and in politics. The rate of progress for women has been slow over the past decade with the proportion of female leaders increasing by an average of just over 2% across 12 industries studied by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

WEF’s data shows that when women are more present and participating in leadership roles, more women are hired right across the board at all levels. This detail holds true even when taking into consideration the disparities in the size of female talent pools across various industry sectors. If the proportion of women in leadership is not increasing fast enough, yet we know that diversity in leadership positions is a critical factor in closing the economic opportunity gap, then it is clear that women’s participation at the most senior levels of leadership and management swiftly need to increase and accelerate.

The International Women’s Day 2018 campaign theme is #PressforProgress and worldwide activity will see groups and organizations across the world launch new gender parity initiatives, celebrate women’s achievements, call for greater action and more. Employers across the world will support the campaign as they do what they can to actively engage and harness their workforces and communities to forge gender parity.

Day History

International Women’s Day grew out of the labor movement to become a UN-recognized annual event.

The seeds of it were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first National Woman’s Day, a year later.

The idea to then make the day international came from a woman called Clara Zetkin. She suggested the idea in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed unanimously.

It was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we’re technically celebrating the 107th International Women’s Day.

Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations (UN) started celebrating the day and later set an annual theme. The first one (in 1996) was “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”.

Source: BBC News and www.internationalwomensday.com