On the occasion of International Women's Day 2019, the Socialist International reiterates its unwavering commitment to gender equality and women's rights, causes which have always been and will remain at the heart of the agenda of the global social democratic movement. Today is a moment to reflect on the significant progress made globally towards gender equality, but equally to focus on the important challenges and obstacles that remain, and the ambition, dedication and political will required to overcome them.
True gender equality must exist on all levels and in all sectors of society. This means everything from equal rights and access to education for girls, to equal employment and the elimination of the gender pay gap, to equality at the highest levels of leadership and decision-making in political, economic and public life.
Equal rights and access to education are the foundation of an equal society and vital to ensure the empowerment of girls and women and their full participation in society without prejudice or discrimination. Likewise, gender balance in the workplace can help communities and enterprises thrive while helping the full potential of humankind for development, prosperity and peace to be achieved. Equal opportunities for women to reach leadership positions and to participate fully at all levels of decision-making can form part of a virtuous circle, as the current in-built gender biases present in our societies are eroded. Through the full and equal participation of women in all aspects political and public life, prejudices can be overcome and values reshaped to recognise the rights of women and promote empowerment.
There is still a great deal to do, and the pace of progress on equality and women's rights must increase. It remains regrettably the case that for many women and girls across the globe, a life free from violence, discrimination and harmful practices remains out of reach. These fundamental injustices must be brought to an end, as nothing less than the elimination of violence and exploitation of women and girls and an end to early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation is acceptable.
The Socialist International recalls the roots of International Women's Day, which was first marked as a result of a resolution of the Second International Conference of Socialist Women on the occasion of the 1910 Copenhagen International Socialist Congress. For the Socialist International and its members, the issue of women's equality will continue to be a primary focus, not only today as we mark International Women's Day, but on every other day of the year and for as long as it takes to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls in all countries of the world.
SI expresses unwavering commitment to gender equality
United News of India, 9 March 2019