International Women's Day may have just passed, but we're celebrating indefinitely. Across the globe, girls and women continue to face violence, inequalities, and other issues that include a lack of health care access. Likewise, women tend to be disproportionately affected by global sustainability and environmental crises, such as climate change and dwindling access to certain natural resources.
On the other hand, people are also beginning to realize that these same marginalized women are just as capable of leading the world towards the changes needed to build a more sustainable future. For this and many other reasons, the UN Women declared the International women’s day 2022 theme "Gender equality today for a more sustainable tomorrow."
We couldn't agree with this idea more. In this post, we'll be covering the history of International Women's Day, the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how women fit into the overall picture of a more sustainable future on our planet.
What is International Women’s Day? History, Meaning, and More
The first official International Women's Day was celebrated in 1975, after it was designated a United Nations observance. However, the idea of International Women's Day actually dates back much further—in fact, as far back as February of 1908. At this time, thousands of female garment workers went on strike in New York City, taking to the streets to protest their working conditions, lower wages (when compared to men), and sexual harassment in the workplace.
In 1909, on the anniversary of these protests, the first "unofficial" International Women's Day was celebrated on February 28th.
Over time, the idea of an International Women's Day gained greater popularity—though the holiday was still not an official one. When women finally gained the right to vote in Russia in 1917 and in the United States in 1920, women finally had a greater say in political matters. However, it wasn't until 1975 that International Women's Day was finally recognized as an official observance through the United Nations. Today, it is celebrated in March as a part of Women's History Month.
Understanding the United Nation's Sustainability Goals
In 2015, the United Nations created and adopted a series of 17 Sustainability Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. These United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
Here, in 2022, we're still quite a way from achieving all of these goals. In fact, some might even argue that conditions have worsened in some aspects since these goals were adopted in 2015.
What does International Women's Day and gender equality have to do with these sustainability goals? In short, many believe that these goals cannot be achieved until women have greater equality across the globe. Because women are disproportionately affected by global sustainability issues, they are often being held back and left behind. It's time, then, to place a stronger focus on SDG #5: Gender equality.
With greater gender equality, women will be better represented within the governing bodies that make sustainability regulations. Across the globe, women have the leadership abilities and other skills needed to solve many environmental and sustainability problems. This includes everything from climate change to industry, innovation, and access to clean energy.
When gender equality is achieved, the idea is that a sustainable future will be within everybody's reach. Cheers to that!
3 Sustainability Rituals to Establish in Your Own Life
Looking for a way to celebrate this year's International Women's Day theme and improve sustainability in your own life? Consider these three simple rituals to help you get started.
1. Reduce Waste
It's no secret that waste is a huge problem that affects our planet and environment. One of the biggest and most effective changes you can make, then, is to reduce the amount of waste your household generates. There are many ways to do this, such as swapping out single-use products for lower-waste alternatives.
The Matcha Bloom Bottle Bundle is a great way to cut down on waste from single-use plastic bottles. By enjoying your matcha green tea from a premium-quality and reusable glass bottle, you can save hundreds of plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.
With this same idea in mind, there are many other sensible swaps you can make to ditch your single-use products. Switching from disposable food storage bags to reusable silicone ones, for example, can make a huge difference in the amount of waste your household generates.
2. Rethink Your Yard
You might not think your yard and landscaping would have a big impact on sustainability and the environment, but it absolutely can. As nice as a lush, green yard may appear, the chemicals and fertilizers needed to maintain a "traditional" lawn are damaging to the environment. Weed killers, fertilizers, and other chemicals leech into the local water supply and cause major problems to nearby habitats.
If possible, consider making more sustainable choices when it comes to your yard and landscaping. Ditching the idea of a "perfect" yard for a more environmentally friendly one can go a long way. You could, for example, replace your existing grass with a nature-friendly ground cover (such as clover). Likewise, adding native plants to your landscaping may provide a much-needed respite for local animals.
3. Shop Local
Making an effort to shop local can also mean doing your part to help the planet. Instead of buying your produce at your local "big box" supermarket, for instance, consider buying directly from a local farmer. Doing so means you'll be buying produce that was grown locally and did not need to be transported on diesel-burning trucks to reach you. Likewise, local produce will be fresher and more flavorful—so it's a win/win!
Gender Equality Now For a Sustainable Future
At first thought, you may not see much of a connection between gender equality and sustainability. Upon diving deeper (as we have in this article), however, it becomes easier to see the important role that women will play in creating a more sustainable planet for current and future generations.
By establishing some basic sustainability rituals in your own life, you can help pave the path for a more sustainable world.