Mon Mar 8th, 2010 at 05:44:15 AM EST
I wasn't aware the the 8th of March has been the Women's Day for such a long time, and considered it something rather new.
The rights of woman: How far have they advanced? - World Politics, World - The Independent
It was in a dingy socialist meeting hall a century ago in Copenhagen that women from 17 countries gathered and launched the idea of a day which would champion the rights of women. All over the world this weekend women are marching, celebrating and protesting, not least in London where last night thousands of people thronged Trafalgar Square to mark the 100th International Women's Day.
The theme chosen this year is progress: the progress women have made in the past century, and the long journey that many have ahead of them. The latest statistics on the lot of women in Britain and around the world suggest that some undoubted gains over those 100 years have now stalled, or been reversed, more recently.
Just 19.5 per cent of the MPs in Britain are women; a record so poor that it puts the UK 69th in the world for our proportion of female parliamentarians - behind Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Of course, 100 years ago women had no vote and would wait almost another decade to get a single MP with no Y chromosome, but equality is further off than it might appear. According to a hard-hitting report by the Fawcett Society to be published tomorrow, at the current rate of progress it will take 200 years to achieve an equal number of women in Parliament.
So what does it look like today? Women still have to fight for equal pay:
Gender pay gap strategy up for renewal - Society : europa, europe | euronews
Balancing out men and women's salaries through stronger sanctions and regular monitoring will be the aim of a new European Commission strategy proposal for the 27 EU states later this year, Brussels has said.
There is still an 18 percent pay gap, which has not moved much in 15 years and has grown in some countries. Italy shows the least difference in average gross hourly earnings, around five percent, and Estonia the most, 30 percent. The gap in the UK is about 20 percent. Eight out of ten Europeans polled called for urgent correction.
Lifetime earnings decide pensions, too. According to Commission findings, women are more affected by persistent and extreme poverty than men after they pass retirement age as well.
Labour expert Gitta Vanpeborgh with the ABVV-FGTB Union said: "Women work in sectors that pay less. They work part time more. This can't be ignored. Then there's managing life between the home and workplace, and the glass ceiling that stops women from getting to the top posts in companies."
It looks like progress has been rather stagnant:
Pledge to cut EU gender pay gap after 15 years without progress | World news | guardian.co.uk
European commissioner for fundamental rights refuses to rule out legislation to promote wage equality
The pay gap between men and women in Europe has barely changed for the better in 15 years, the European commission said today, while pledging to narrow the gap significantly within five years.
The situation in Britain was worse than average, with women in the UK being paid 79% of male rates, while across the 27 countries of the EU the figure was 82%, according to a survey from Eurobarometer timed to coincide with International Women's Day on Monday.
Viviane Reding, a European commissioner for fundamental rights including gender equality, pledged to step up a campaign for equal pay and to combat gender violence, saying she did not rule out European legislation to promote wage equality.
What would you think should go in a potential white paper for "women's equality" and closing the gender gap?