On March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day, as a part of Women’s History Month which is celebrated in March. This year’s theme, “Be Bold for Change,” encourages everyone to commit themselves to helping the world achieve gender equality. It challenges us to confront gender norms and stereotypes, and actively work to lift women and girls. On International Women’s Day, we rejoice in the economic, social, political, and cultural achievements of women, while also recognizing the need for further advancements.
One in three women around the world experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. In the United States, women only earn on average 80 cents for every dollar that a man in a comparable position earns. Globally, the average annual pay for women is half that of men, equaling the average amount men were paid ten years ago. We have the ability to influence global progression toward gender equity. Legislation like the International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1340/S. 713), or I-VAWA, would provide concrete tools to change the circumstances that lead to violence against women and girls. This bill, and many others that strive to eliminate domestic and global gender-based violence. Take action and urge your Members of Congress to support reintroduction of I-VAWA.
Our health and our bodies are gifts from God that we are to protect and nurture. The Torah states “You shall be holy, for I the Eternal your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). Mistreatment of women and girls is a violation of the sanctity and wholeness of the body and health of another person. With Purim approaching, we are reminded of the violence that the women of our ancestry faced, and the ways that they actively combated it. We have an obligation to continue fighting, until International Women’s Day is only a celebration of our successful equality.
To learn more about our work on women’s equality, visit the RAC’s issue pages.