March 8, 2022
March 8, 2022 is International Women’s Day!!! A day dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements around the world, raising awareness on the challenges women face, and determining ways of achieving gender equality. This year’s celebration focuses on #breakingthebias.
Women experience intersectional bias with respect to race, religion, sexual orientation, and (dis)ability. Women encounter hegemonic bias which legitimizes the dominance of men in the different spaces that women find themselves. Most work environments are hostile to women, negatively impacting their potential, retention, and progress. Women continue to face sexual harassment, microaggression, disparity in promotions, unequal wages, and other forms of discrimination. Women with marginalized identities and women of color are further subjected to racialized practices. Quite unsettling, for example, is the systemic racialized practices and norms within the United Nations – an institution founded on equality and spearheading the same worldwide. The Africa Report indicates that a survey conducted by United Nations People of African Descent (UN-PAD) revealed that 52% of 2,857 respondents had experienced some form of racism within the category of career development, exclusion, disrespect disproportionate sanctions, discrimination, and harassment.
A report by the Institute for African Women in Law, Unveiling Subalternity: Women and the Legal Professions in Africa, highlighted some of the achievements of women across Africa in ascending to leadership positions in law firms, and the judiciary. The report also highlighted the challenges women in law continue to deal with, based largely on existing biases within legal institutions and the society generally.
The Covid-19 pandemic also increased the caregiving work of women leading to heightened mental and physical health issues. Women need support at all levels to cope with the pandemic’s impact.
We cannot ignore the impact of climate change and other environmental issues and how they affect women globally. IAWL stands in solidarity with UN Women who have dedicated this year’s International Women’s Day to achieving gender equality in the context of climate change, environmental sustainability, and disaster risk reduction. Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men, therefore we salute the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response in order to create a more sustainable future for everyone.
Today, IAWL calls on all institutions and people to #breakthebias. #Breakingthebias within the shortest time possible requires concerted efforts from all. IAWL stands in solidarity with all women in law and all others as we work together to #breakthebias through a unified approach despite the diversity within the global communities of women.