by Denisse Fiero Arcos (Spanish translation available here)

Last week, on March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day, which always raises mixed feelings in me. On one hand, this day brings positive emotions as we look back at the gains we have achieved towards gender parity. In many countries around the world, women and girls now have access to education, health and they can even participate in political life. Moreover, thanks to social media, it is more common to see examples of women leaders working towards improving our society in various areas that have been historically dominated by men, from science to politics. Some of these great women include, but are not limited to, Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Dr Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr María Claudia Segovia-Salcedo, co-founder of the Ecuadorian Network of Female Scientists.

However, even though today women and girls have access to more opportunities than our grandmothers, we cannot ignore the fact that there is still much to do to achieve gender parity. The World Economic Forum published a report in December 2019 which indicates that at the current rate of change it will take about 100 years to reach gender parity in the areas of politics, economy, health and education. However, evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has set back decades the advances gained towards equal participation in the workforce and income of women. Additionally, gender violence continues to affect millions of women and girls worldwide regardless of their age, socio-economic position, or education level. Gender violence is so prevalent that globally about one-third of women and girls have reported having experienced some kind of violence simply due to the fact that they are women. More worryingly, this figure continues to rise.

This day reminds me that there is still a lot of work to do to reach gender parity. However, we can all contribute towards achieving this objective. We can all work towards achieving this objective by supporting and highlighting the work that women do. While, women can apply the sorority principle: women help other women, because when we work together we can go further.