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Celebrating International Women's Day - March 8th

A Salute to the Resilient, the Tenacious, the Graceful – Women Worldwide

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06 Mar '24
11 min read


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On March 8th, the world comes together to celebrate one of the most integral pillars of our society – women. International Women's Day, a day set aside to honor the struggles, acknowledge the achievements, and inspire future generations of women. This day symbolizes more than just gender equality; it's a testament to the resilience, strength, and grace of women worldwide.

The world has seen women rise, breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings. They've been soldiers on battlegrounds and warriors in boardrooms, they've soared high in the skies and dove deep into the oceans. Women are the heart of humanity, and it is their spirit that we honor on this remarkable day.

In a world where the contributions of women have often been overlooked and undervalued, International Women's Day stands as a beacon of recognition and celebration. This global holiday, observed every March 8th, serves as a reminder of the remarkable achievements of women throughout history and the ongoing journey towards gender equality and empowerment.

Setting the Stage:

As we embrace International Women's Day, it's essential to reflect on the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead. This day is not only about celebrating the achievements of women but also about acknowledging the systemic barriers they continue to face in various aspects of life, including education, employment, and healthcare.

Empowering Through Education:

Education has long been recognized as a powerful tool for empowerment, and women's access to education has improved significantly in recent decades. According to UNESCO, the global literacy rate for women has risen from 64% in 1990 to 86% in 2020, showcasing the strides made in ensuring equal educational opportunities for all.

Breaking Barriers in the Workplace:

Women have made significant strides in the workforce, challenging stereotypes and breaking glass ceilings in traditionally male-dominated fields. In the United States, women now make up nearly half of the labor force, with statistics showing a steady increase in female representation in leadership roles across industries.

Inspiring Change Through Advocacy:

International Women's Day serves as a platform for advocacy and activism, rallying individuals and organizations worldwide to support gender equality initiatives. From grassroots movements to global campaigns, women and their allies continue to push for policy reforms and social change that promote inclusivity and diversity.

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion:

Diversity is not just a buzzword; it's a cornerstone of progress and innovation. International Women's Day celebrates the diverse experiences and identities of women from all walks of life, highlighting the intersectionality of gender with race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Looking Ahead:

While much progress has been made, the journey towards gender equality is far from over. International Women's Day serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that every woman and girl has the opportunity to thrive and fulfill her potential.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world, where every woman and girl is empowered to pursue her dreams and make her mark on the world.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let's remember that it is not just about a single day of recognition. It's a continuous effort to empower women, to provide them with equal opportunities, to respect their choices, and to acknowledge their accomplishments.

Let's celebrate the strength of womanhood. Let's celebrate the spirit of International Women's Day.

Case Study: Sudha Murthy - Philanthropist and Author

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(Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/sudhamurthy123/)

Sudha Murthy, an Indian author, philanthropist, and social worker, is renowned for her tireless efforts in promoting education, rural development, and women's empowerment across India. Her life story embodies the spirit of resilience, compassion, and service to others.

Born on August 19, 1950, in Shiggaon, Haveri District in North Karnataka, Sudha Murthy grew up in a humble family with a deep appreciation for education and social responsibility. Despite facing financial constraints, she excelled academically and earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the B.V.B. College of Engineering, Hubli.

Key Events:

1. Founding of Infosys Foundation: In 1996, Sudha Murthy and her husband, N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founded the Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Infosys Limited. The foundation focuses on supporting education, healthcare, rural development, and social welfare initiatives across India.

2. Promotion of Education: Sudha Murthy has been a staunch advocate for education, particularly for underprivileged children in rural areas. Through the Infosys Foundation, she has established numerous schools, libraries, and scholarship programs to provide access to quality education for disadvantaged youth.

3. Literary Contributions: As an author, Sudha Murthy has penned several best-selling books, including "Wise and Otherwise," "The Old Man and His God," and "The Magic Drum and Other Favourite Stories." Her writings often draw inspiration from her own life experiences and advocate for social justice and compassion.

4. Women's Empowerment: Sudha Murthy has been a vocal proponent of women's rights and empowerment, encouraging women to pursue education and economic independence. She has supported numerous initiatives aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs, artisans, and artisans in rural communities.

Impact and Legacy:

1. Empowering Rural Communities: Sudha Murthy's initiatives through the Infosys Foundation have had a transformative impact on rural communities across India, improving access to education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities for thousands of people.

2. Promoting Literacy: Through her books and storytelling, Sudha Murthy has inspired countless readers, both young and old, to embrace empathy, kindness, and social responsibility. Her stories often celebrate the resilience and wisdom of ordinary people, reflecting the rich tapestry of Indian society.

3. Role Model for Women: Sudha Murthy's life and achievements serve as a shining example for women aspiring to make a difference in the world. Her humility, dedication, and compassion have earned her admiration and respect from people of all walks of life.

Sudha Murthy's remarkable journey from a small-town girl to a pioneering philanthropist and author is a testament to the transformative power of education, compassion, and service to others. Her unwavering commitment to social welfare and women's empowerment has touched the lives of millions and inspired a new generation of changemakers in India and beyond.

Sudha Murthy's Initiatives:

Founding of Infosys Foundation:

  • Sudha Murthy played a pivotal role in establishing the Infosys Foundation, leveraging the resources and influence of Infosys Limited to address social challenges in India.
  • The foundation focuses on key areas such as education, healthcare, rural development, arts and culture, and destitute care, with a commitment to making a meaningful impact on the lives of marginalized communities.

Promotion of Education:

  • Sudha Murthy's passion for education led to the establishment of numerous educational institutions and initiatives aimed at providing quality education to underserved populations.
  • The Infosys Foundation supports the construction of schools, classrooms, and libraries in remote and rural areas, ensuring that children have access to learning resources and opportunities for academic advancement.
  • Additionally, the foundation provides scholarships and financial assistance to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, enabling them to pursue higher education and fulfill their potential.

Literary Contributions:

  • Sudha Murthy's literary works have had a profound impact on readers of all ages, inspiring them to reflect on life's values, challenges, and opportunities.
  • Her books often draw from her personal experiences and observations, offering poignant insights into the human condition and the complexities of Indian society.
  • Sudha Murthy's storytelling prowess has earned her a devoted readership, with her books being translated into multiple languages and reaching audiences around the world.

Women's Empowerment:

  • Sudha Murthy has been a vocal advocate for women's rights and empowerment, recognizing the critical role that women play in driving social and economic progress.
  • Through the Infosys Foundation, she has supported initiatives aimed at promoting women's entrepreneurship, skill development, and economic independence.
  • Sudha Murthy has championed the cause of women artisans, weavers, and artisans, empowering them to showcase their talents and earn a sustainable livelihood.

Impact and Legacy:

Empowering Rural Communities:

  • Sudha Murthy's initiatives through the Infosys Foundation have had a transformative impact on rural communities, lifting thousands of families out of poverty and empowering them to build a better future.
  • Access to education, healthcare, and livelihood opportunities has improved significantly in the areas where the foundation operates, leading to tangible improvements in living standards and quality of life.

Promoting Literacy:

  • Sudha Murthy's books have not only entertained readers but also served as a catalyst for social change, fostering empathy, understanding, and compassion among readers of all ages.
  • Her stories celebrate the resilience and ingenuity of ordinary people, highlighting the importance of empathy, kindness, and social responsibility in creating a more harmonious and inclusive society.

Role Model for Women:

  • Sudha Murthy's life and achievements serve as an inspiration for women everywhere, demonstrating that with determination, compassion, and hard work, anything is possible.
  • Her humility, integrity, and commitment to service have earned her the admiration and respect of people from all walks of life, making her a role model for future generations of women leaders and changemakers.

On this International Women's Day, let us pay tribute to Sudha Murthy and all the women who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. May their legacy of compassion, resilience, and service continue to inspire us to build a more inclusive, equitable, and compassionate society for all.

This case study celebrates the contributions of Sudha Murthy, an inspirational Indian woman who has made significant strides in philanthropy, education, and women's empowerment. Her story serves as a reminder of the power of compassion and service to create positive change in society.

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Statistics 

1. Women make up 49.6% of the global population. (Source: World Bank)
2. Women perform 66% of the world's work, yet earn only 10% of the income. (Source: UN Women)
3. In 2020, 59.6% of women aged 15 and older participated in the global labor force, compared to 69.8% of men. (Source: International Labour Organization)
4. Women hold only 24% of parliamentary seats worldwide. (Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union)
5. Globally, 132 million girls are out of school. (Source: UNESCO)
6. Women spend an average of 4.1 hours per day on unpaid care work, compared to 1.7 hours for men. (Source: UN Women)
7. Women-owned businesses represent 31% of all enterprises globally. (Source: International Labour Organization)
8. Globally, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. (Source: World Health Organization)
9. Women reinvest 90% of their income into their families, compared to 35% for men. (Source: UN Women)
10. In developing countries, women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force. (Source: Food and Agriculture Organization)
11. Women hold only 17% of CEO positions globally. (Source: Catalyst)
12. Globally, 71% of human trafficking victims are women and girls. (Source: UNODC)
13. Women represent 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: International Labour Organization)
14. Women are 14 times more likely to die during childbirth in developing countries than in developed countries. (Source: UNICEF)
15. Globally, women spend 2.7 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. (Source: UN Women)
16. Women hold only 28% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs worldwide. (Source: UNESCO)
17. Women earn on average 77 cents for every dollar earned by men globally. (Source: World Economic Forum)
18. In conflict-affected settings, 70% of women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence. (Source: UN Women)
19. Women make up 39% of global employment in the health sector. (Source: World Health Organization)
20. Women's participation in the digital economy is 12% lower than men's globally. (Source: UN Women)
21. Globally, only 15% of landholders are women. (Source: Food and Agriculture Organization)
22. Women hold only 6.6% of Fortune 500 CEO positions. (Source: Fortune)
23. In developing countries, 1 in 3 girls is married before the age of 18. (Source: UNICEF)
24. Women represent 49.6% of all college graduates worldwide. (Source: UNESCO)
25. Globally, 130 million girls are out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: UNESCO)

These figures are more than just numbers; they are a reflection of every single woman's battle and triumph. They mirror the relentless spirit of women who refuse to be defined by societal norms, who dare to dream and strive to achieve.

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Conclusion

As we commemorate International Women's Day, let us reflect on the progress that has been made and the challenges that lie ahead. This day serves as a powerful reminder of the indomitable spirit and resilience of women worldwide. From breaking barriers in the workplace to advocating for gender equality and social justice, women have been at the forefront of driving positive change in our societies.

However, our work is far from over. We must continue to dismantle the systemic barriers that hold women back and strive for a world where every woman and girl has the opportunity to thrive and reach her full potential. Let us celebrate the diversity, strength, and achievements of women from all walks of life, and pledge to stand in solidarity with them as we work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

Together, let us dream of a world where gender equality is not just a goal but a reality, and let us work tirelessly to make that dream a shining beacon of hope for generations to come.

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" We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back."

  • Malala Yousafzai, Nobel laureate and advocate for girls' education
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Category : World


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Written by DEEPAK SHENOY @ kmssons