EDITORIAL: An urgent need to ‘Press for Progress’

Everything we know tells us we are still a long way from gender parity.

While certainly the world has made some advancements, there is still a vast chasm which exists between the two sexes in many aspects of life.

In fact, the data suggests the gender gap is actually widening.

The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report suggests gender parity is actually 200 years away.

That’s a pretty significant time frame.

Global activism for change is strong on the back of social movements such as the #MeToo campaign and it presents a great opportunity to “Press for Progress”.

Press for Progress is the theme for International Women’s Day 2018 and it will be front and centre when the Bega Valley unites to recognise the day in several special events across the shire this week.

The campaign urges all to “think, act and be gender inclusive”.

International Women’s Day will be celebrated around the world on March 8.

In terms of world history it has not been around for long, but in terms of a human life span it started some time ago.

History shows International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s and certainly in the last 100 years there have been some major milestones particularly in recent decades.

In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

Yet the United Nations didn’t actually recognise International Women’s Day until 1975.

Ultimately, this is not about “women’s rights”.

Essentially, it is about basic “human rights”.

The reality that as humans we all deserve the same human rights.

Or, as world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem, said: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights”.

This week, we make a stand as a region. We promise to “think, act and be gender inclusive”.

We can think globally and act locally. We promise to Press for Progress.

Everyone has the right to a future which promises to be bright, equal, safe and rewarding.