March 8 is celebrated annually as International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a global day to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Can we imagine a gender equality world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, a world where difference is valued, diversity and inclusivity are honoured? Covid and global challenges in the past year may have taken aback what women have achieved in terms of gender equality by a decade, but Elite+ here shares the thoughts and aspirations of respected individuals on International Women’s Day.
March 8 started to be celebrated in 1909. More than a century later, a lot of progress has been made but new challenges have also emerged. Women are still underrepresented in politics nearly everywhere in the world. They are also disproportionately affected by gender-based violence, particularly family-related. Climate change is a growing concern. As our world evolves at an unprecedented rhythm, education is essential to ensure we leave no one behind. Under the theme, DigitalALL, IWD 2023 will explore this issue.
More than two years of Covid have had a huge toll on the most vulnerable and again, women have been major victims. Women pay a high price in conflict situations – for instance, the coup in Myanmar or the unjustified aggression of Ukraine by Russia. Political orientation of the leadership in, for example, Iran or in Afghanistan are forcing women all around the world to fight for their rights to education and their right to choose.
These challenges have also allowed women to search for creative answers and dig into their incredible potential for innovation, sometimes in exceptionally difficult circumstances. They have been developing effective strategies to fight for or protect their rights. They are ensuring their participation in peace and security mechanisms that too often exclude them. On this IWD, we want to celebrate all these women.
All around the world, many men are championing gender equality, supporting equality in the workplace, ensuring women reach positions of leadership and fighting against discrimination. On this IWD, it is also their role that must be celebrated.
Take a Moment for Yourself. I have worked on projects for breast cancer awareness, diagnosis and treatment for 30 years, so my perspective for International Women’s Day 2023 is to continue to encourage early and regular diagnosis of breast cancer. The QSCBC breast cancer awareness campaign will be launched on billboards in Bangkok to endorse March 8th as a day for women to pause and consider themselves and their self-worth.
Screening will not prevent breast cancer, but early detection may offer a better prognosis for a woman. When a lesion is detected early when still small, it is usually easier to treat. Every women should take a moment for themself for regular screening.
Screening from 40 years and over with a breast examination, ultrasound and mammography is advised by the QSCBC. If a woman has a strong family history of breast cancer, a full breast cancer examination and ultrasound, followed by a mammogram at 35 – 40 years, is suggested.
My aspiration on gender equality is to finally overcome the biases we often place on women. Society needs to reach a far higher level of consciousness around the issue, so all those in a position of influence can take steps to help individuals reach their full potential regardless of their gender. This will require all leaders to put systems in place to assure equality in organizations all the way from pay and training opportunities to a fair chance at getting promoted. Women and men by nature are different and both have their own set of gender strengths. Society will thrive when we recognize those differences and leverage the strength of all individuals by creating a fair platform that accelerates the growth potential of each one of us.
At first glance, Thai women have held executive roles in the public and private sectors. However, there are still sectors where we see higher underrepresentation, especially in government and administration at national and local levels. In rural areas, many women in Thailand remain affected by discrimination, exploitation and poverty.
Consistent findings have shown that women give greater priority to the protection of natural habitats and wildlife. Repeated studies have demonstrated that women have a stake in the future of the environment. They are more socially responsible to care about sustainability in utilizing natural resources. In the fight against global climate change and preservation of the environment, I hope to see more women involved in climate action. At the local level, women possess unique knowledge and experience, so their participation is crucial for effective climate action.
I have long been advocating the preservation of wildlife in Thailand. Over the years, we have unfortunately experienced the destruction of natural habitats. It’s the same for gender equality; as human beings, we need to reach a balance where people, habitats and wildlife can coexist. I strongly believe that women can excel given the opportunity to make a choice to do something with a passion. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has yet to come. All we have is today. So let us begin.
March 8 is “International Women's Day”; a day to celebrate and honour the achievements, contributions and struggles of women around the world. Women have been pioneers in every field, from politics to science to the arts, and it is a great day to take a moment to remember, appreciate and celebrate all that women have accomplished.
The pandemic has caused a setback in progress for women's rights worldwide. Governments have implemented lockdowns, resulting in job losses, reduced access to essential services and increased domestic violence against women. This threatens to erase the progress that had been made before the pandemic. It used to believe that a woman’s place is in the home. Most people now agree that women bring so much talent to business. Today, there are countless successful women in top management positions and many women entrepreneurs. It is our duty to encourage young women to grow as “women in their own right”, with pride and dignity, to make the best of themselves. Women are the present and they are the future. From business leaders to politicians, women are paving the way for a more equitable and just society. Women are showing us that anything is possible. They are creating a legacy that will last for generations to come.