by Madeleine Hage
March 8th of every year marks International Women’s Day. This day is a celebration of women and of their economic, political, and social accomplishments. This day is a day to applaud, love, respect, and appreciate the women all around the world.
International Women’s Day began in the early 1900s as a way to promote equal rights for women. The right to vote and the right to hold office were of particular interest during that time. International Women’s Day became an officially recognized holiday in the United States in 1994. Every year, the celebration has a theme. The theme for 2014 is “Equality for Women is Progress for All.” In honor of this year’s holiday, let’s celebrate the progress that women have made in the U.S. this past year.
1. A record high number of women are running and winning seats in political office.
Congress has a record high number of women in it. Although, it is still not an equal split, the numbers are on the rise and a significant amount of progress has been made.
2. The Affordable Care Act gave women access to birth control at no cost.
Women who have health insurance can now have access to free birth control so that they can have more control over their bodies.
3. Powerful people are standing up for women’s right to control their own reproductive health.
Politicians like Democrat Wendy Davis of Texas and Republican Doug Cox of Oklahoma are fighting for women to have the right to make decisions for themselves regarding their bodies. Doctors like Julie Burkhart are keeping their abortion clinics open despite violent threats from anti-choice advocates.
4. Companies are equalizing promotion practices
Companies like State Farm, Marriott International, and Abbott are making an active effort to put an equal number of men and women in senior managing jobs equal. At all of these companies there is almost a 50-50 split between men and women in powerful positions.
5. Women can fight on the front lines.
Defense Secretary Panetta declared that women should and will be able to fight in front-line combat as of early 2013.
Of course, this is not to say that all of the progress that women have made is monumental. There is still much work to be done in many areas. However, on this day that celebrates the achievements of women, it is good to look at the positive and strive for more advancements in the coming years.