International Women’s Day is a global movement celebrated annually on March 8th, honouring the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. This anniversary celebration is a result of a demonstration by New York City women garment and textile workers in 1857, who were protesting low wages and poor working conditions. In the 20th-century, protests from various powerful women’s movements have become more vocal and frequent. These include: #MeToo Movement, MakeWomenVisible, Reclaim These Street and Women’s March. Today, the fight is still going on to dismantle the complex barriers against women and to increase gender equality.

“I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai

Gender bias is the judgement, unequal treatment or discrimination against an individual based on gender rather than their abilities or merits. Women have made significant progress, breaking barriers, advocating for the right to vote and even the freedom to wear trousers, and challenging traditional ideas about women’s roles and capabilities.It’s a time to celebrate women’s achievements and the victories won in the fight for equal rights. Sadly, women still continue to be grossly overlooked, underestimated and underrepresented through dominant frames in the mainstream media.

My freedom today is thanks to the women who fought before me.

How women are portrayed by the mainstream media has the power and ability to influence young people in decision making about their career options based on the images they see of other women on their screen, whether on social media platforms, newspapers, television or radio. The mainstream media coverage still depict women as being weak, overly emotional, powerless and incompetent compared to their male counterparts, who are portrayed as intelligent, strong and powerful (Kitzinger et al, 2008). Although diversity and inclusion are changing the employment trends workforce, more still need to be done to tackle the inequalities and deconstruct the system that was built by men for men.

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

Michelle Obama

Today, most professional careers are quintessentially male at senior levels, whether that is in science, technology, engineering, academia, construction and politics. On the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 Directors list, only Marjorie Scardino from Pearson media and publishing company was named as a CEO. (Singh et al, 2001: 206).Gender stereotypes are used to define, decode, limit and place individuals in boxes and this is often used by the mainstream media through framing strategies to produce preferred meaning for the target audiences.

Women are the real architects of society.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Despite women making up half of the UK population, they are underrepresented in leadership or senior positions where decision-making occurs. For example, to cite a select few instances, a recent report shows that as of March 2022, out of 650 Members of Parliament, only 225 are women. This means that most seats in the House of Commons are held by men, and the Conservative Party, the largest party in parliament, represents less than 40 percent of these women MPs, at just 25 percent. Majority of board directors positions are held by educated, white, middle-age males from similar socio-economic backgrounds (Singh et al, 2001). Gender equality should be taken into consideration, because majority of man are currently responsible for policies and decision making for women.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In conclusion, today, we honor the strength, resilience, and accomplishments of women worldwide. Let’s continue to shine bright and break barriers. Representation matters; it motivates and inspires the next generation of women to pursue leadership roles. Therefore, the time is now for women to assume decision-making positions and reclaim power. In any democracy, equality, diversity and inclusion is crucial for a fair and equal society.

Wishing you all a Happy International Women’s Day!