International Women’s Day: A Call to Action to Accelerate Equality Worldwide

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally on March 8th every year. The day is dedicated to celebrating women and all they have achieved, but it is also a call to action to accelerate equality worldwide.

The origins of this day can be traced back to 1908 when a group of 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding more rights, including better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. This led the US to adopt National Women’s Day in 1909. By 1911, International Women’s Day was officially agreed upon for the first time at a conference in Copenhagen. More than 1 million women and men attended rallies across Europe supporting women’s rights. However, it was not until 1975 that the United Nations officially acknowledged International Women’s Day. Since then, the day has grown and adapted to the times, transforming into what we know today. IWD is now celebrated worldwide with countless online events and viral campaigns honouring women and reminding us of the work we still need to do.

How FINCA Promotes Women’s Equality through Work

Though IWD is an important day to recognize achievements and continue inspiring change, we at FINCA promote women’s empowerment and equality daily through our work. FINCA’s founders recognized the importance of empowering women within our mission to end poverty and wove that into FINCA’s DNA. FINCA co-founder John Hatch stated:

It has been proven time after time that increasing the incomes of poor mothers results in an almost immediate improvement in their children’s diet, and an increased likelihood that they can send their children to school. And when a child is educated, he or she has better opportunities to live outside of poverty.

Understanding that poverty disproportionately affects women, women’s empowerment has always been and always will be one of FINCA’s core commitments. We are dedicated to providing women with equal access to financial services and other life-changing products and resources. We also design products specifically for women and conduct rigorous research to ensure they are effective.

FINCA clients stand outside the branch office in Bweyale, Uganda.
FINCA clients stand outside the Bweyale branch office in Uganda.

Things You Can Support International Women’s Day

Though much progress has been made over the 100+ years since IWD began, more is still needed. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 132 years to reach full gender parity at the current rate of progress. While this may sound discouraging, we look at this as a call to action to increase awareness and spur action. Below is a list of actions you can take to mark IWD on March 8 or to support women any day of the year:

  • Sign a petition supporting women’s issues to inform lawmakers that you stand with women.
  • Search for, promote, and attend IWD and/or gender parity events near or online.
  • Speak on social media to spread awareness to friends and family within your network.
  • Seek out and get involved with an organization like FINCA that is dedicated to women’s empowerment and equality.

We at FINCA hope you are inspired to support women in one or more ways listed above. Only by working together, spreading awareness, and taking action can we improve the rate of progress and hope to see full gender parity within our lifetime.