Image credit: Twitter/ @Mayoroflondon
With this year’s themed hashtag #PressforProgress and worldwide activity will see groups and organisations across the world launch new gender parity initiatives, celebrate women’s achievements, call for greater action and more. #March4Women was organised by a charity called CARE and was held in London on Sunday 4th March to call for gender equality, celebrate suffrage centenary and mark International Women’s Day.
People in the thousands joined the march in Central London to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the privilege to vote. It was the sixth annual #March4Women, which is held each year, close to International Women’s Day on the 8th March. The event organisers assured that it would be an “uplifting and inspiring” march, which planned to make participants stand up tall and bold against the inequality that women and girls face globally.
Many politicians from different parties and religious groups stood side by side as they marched on the same route taken by the suffragettes 100 years ago. Many people who took part held banners that read, “let’s finish what the suffragettes started” and “close the pay gap”.
Women wore sashes that said, “deeds not words”, which reveals how far women have come since the suffragettes, how far they will have to go today and how they will get there. Many leaders made speeches such as the London mayor, Sadiq Khan and activists like Bianca Jagger, Helen Pankhurst, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and Faeeza Vaid with a video address by the singer Annie Lennox.
Sandi Toksvig, the broadcaster and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, also appeared ahead of the march and stated, “We’ve been marching for 100 years. Now’s the time to put our foot down”.
Leading the March was Helen Pankhurst, who is the great-granddaughter of leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who said “right across the board in every sphere there’s work to be done” to ensure gender equality. She claimed that there was “great energy” and that “day after day there is a media story claiming that we are not going to tolerate this anymore.”
Khan wore a ‘Deeds not words” sash and said that he was a “proud feminist”. He said that there were too few women in parliament and boardrooms across the country, adding that a 50% balance should be a floor to aim towards rather than a ceiling. “I think if you’re in a position of power and influence and you think that it is wrong that women get paid less than men, you think it’s wrong that there is discrimination against women still, you think it’s wrong that simply by virtue of being born a boy you have more chances than girl – you should be a feminist”. He added, “And I can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t want to be a proud feminist.”
The Labour MP Dawn Butler was greeted with a loud cheer when she said she was marching for women whose stories had been ignored or overlooked. She said, “I’m marching for hidden history. I’m marching for the women nobody speaks about. I’m marching for the women who suffer in silence. I’m marching to say we hear you”.
So, with the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away, there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more, there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.
So if you have the same beliefs about stopping discrimination against women and pushing for gender parity then please get in touch or leave a comment below.