I hope you are all as excited as I am for tomorrow, which is International Women's day (IWD)!
I wanted to share with you all a little bit of the history of how this day got established as well as our events at SAP that are dedicated to the day (which I welcome you to sign up for below and join!)
Firstly, what is the purpose of IWD? Well, it goes without saying but based on human history, a day like this is needed in order to celebrate what women have achieved and what women will continue to achieve. It is also a day to celebrate women's presence, and a day to remind ourselves of the dark history women have had to live through in our societies, which I think is vital to us not repeating our mistakes in the future.
So let me take you back to 1909, we are in New York and it is February 28. The Socialist Party of America has just established National Women's Day based on a recommendation from Theresa Malkiel,an American labor activist, suffragist, and educator. But it does not end there, she was also the first woman who rose from being a factory worker to becoming a leader in the socialist party.She believed that having a day like National Women’s Day would serve as a way to remember the city-wide demonstrations against garment workers. That very same year, German delegates were inspired by this act and they too advocated for National Women’s Day.
As the interest for this day began to spread, Clara Zetkin, a Women's rights advocate, proposed to have an international women’s day the following year at the International Congress of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her aim was to give women a louder and stronger voice to demand equal rights.
Now fast forward to 1913, a date was finally set for IWD, which is March 8, and the UN officially began supporting IWD in order “to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights”. This was followed by the UN announcing (in 1996) their first theme to celebrate IWD, which was "Celebrating the Past, Preparing for the Future."
Now let's look at where we are today-
Today we are at a different place, one worth celebrating, we have female astronauts, female government officials, even in my own home country Tanzania, we have our first-ever female president! Women today can get a university degree, work, and so much more. However, there is another side to this, and although we have made progress, we still have a long way to go. For instance, women are still now equally represented in business and politics, and globally, women’s education and health are still worse than men's.
It is important to remember that the journey is nowhere close to finished, and we also need to keep in mind the consequences of slowing down in this fight, António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) said it best: "In addition to being a fundamental human right, gender equality offers a solution to many of the world's most pressing problems. But the most pervasive violation of human rights in modern times prevents half of mankind from progressing”.
This year, the UN’s theme for IWD is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. The theme highlights the importance of equal opportunities for women in the digital world, currently presenting challenges such as digital skills gaps, income inequality, and online violence. At SAP, our Diversity and Inclusion office, our Business Women Network, and our SAP Women in Tech team are supporting this theme by hosting an event where we address:
•The social and economic impact of technology access
•How technology empowers women and underserved communities during times of crisis
•The inspiring women making waves in the tech industry and shaping a brighter future for generations to come
I invite each and every one of you to join our 2-hour event to not just celebrate this day with us but celebrate women who have made significant advancement for their gender, women who are advancing our industries, women who are empowering our societies, women who are shaping our future, basically, it is a day to celebrate all women.
I hope you see you there! (see details to join below)
Event Title: DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality