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Speaking for Ourselves

International Women’s Day reflection

International Women’s Day reflection

Mara Sese

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - International Women’s Day reflection

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and COVID-19 is headline news. Everyone is trying to avoid coming out and mingling with others. But here I am, ready and excited to go with my friend to attend the International Women’s Day event in the Scottish Parliament debating chambers.

The theme of this year is Women and Democracy. Scotland has been a pioneer in the advancement of women's rights. The Scottish government has done tremendous work in moving things forward to ensure that there is equal opportunity for men and women. For example, they have implemented the Partnership for Change: 50:50 by 2020 (aiming for gender-balanced boards) and committed to reducing the gender pay gap.

But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Women still make up less than 50% of regulated public bodies' boards, and they are less likely to enter senior management positions.

Organisations and employers in the public and private sector must be more open and willing to hire women and invest in them. This will also increase their opportunities to expand and stabilise their businesses.

The Scottish government recently announced that sanitary products will be widely available for free across the country. It’s a brave move that will cost money, but one that will provide dignity to women, especially those who can’t afford to buy such products. It seems amazing that this is the 21st century, yet we are still addressing this simply problem. So many countries have budgets for big submarines, fighter jets, and other destructive devices, but can’t seem to provide free sanitary products.

Ensuring the dignity of each individual is a vital aspect of every community. Offering simple ways to make people feel dignified can have a positive impact in their lives, encouraging them to be more involved, growing their confidence and helping them become a stronger member of their community.

Scotland needs to lead the way in making this positive impact. It is a country that has set high standards for change and for moving policies forward. It is a country that can open doors for women to get involved, hear their voices, address inequality and be a channel for democracy. Scotland has achieved some changes, but it can do more. It can mobilise more policies that can change lives and create a positive global impact.

 

TOP IMAGE: One group of women taking part in the International Women's Day event at the Scottish Parliament on 8 March 2020, Mara Sese