As a Social Sustainability Expert for Arcadis Brazil, gender equality is one of the key issues that I work with on a near daily basis. Yet, as a woman, pregnant with a baby girl, I catch myself realizing that the simple fact of being female still is, in many circumstances, a vulnerability.
Although the public conversation surrounding gender equality has gained more prominence over the years, it is often associated with equal representation and fair pay in the workplace. However, many people are still unaware that there is so much more to equality than meets that eye, and achieving gender equality requires us all to proactively stand up against a number of women´s rights violations that are prevalent in today’s society.
I believe that the #ChooseToChallenge theme for International Women’s Day this year is spot on in terms of the action we need to take to make progress in the fight for equality. Challenging all injustices is critical to combat extreme violations that are happening in countries all over the world, including feminicide, sex trafficking, sexual violence, and harmful traditional practices, as well as ‘normalized’ discrimination such as stereotypes and biases – which we often experience daily. Additional pitfalls that we see widening the equality gap include basic rights that all individuals should be entitled to such like education, information, economic empowerment, arrangements of work and care, political participation, property laws, and many more.
Celebrating International Women´s Day offers us a chance to honor all that has been accomplished by the women´s rights movement while cherishing the power of the feminine, but it also serves as a reminder of the existing challenges we face, day in and day out. We continue to see adverse social, economic and even environmental impacts affecting women more severely due to systematic and structural inequalities. To tackle these challenges, we need to come together to educate and fight for our rights to true equality.
Today we celebrate women to raise awareness against injustice and bias. Although it is just one day of the year, it is an important reminder of our everyday battle. Let’s make sure it is still on our minds tomorrow as well.
– Giuliana Netto, Social Sustainability Expert and Lovinklaan Board Member