March 8, 2015 is International Women’s Day (IWD). This day is to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. There are many events that occur worldwide on this day including conferences, luncheons, dinners and breakfasts in which the political community, business leaders, educators, inventors, entrepreneurs and television personality speak out on various women related topics. These topics include education, career opportunities and many cultural and equality issues faced by women worldwide. This year there are two major initiatives, Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality and the Beijin Declaration and Platform for Action.
The first IWD was help on March 19, 1911 in which rallies and organized meetings were a big success in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The date of March 19th was eventually moved to March 8 in 1913 after the Prussian king promised introduced votes for women in 1848, however he failed at his promise. In 1977, March 8th as IWD was adopted by the UN. The color purple was chosen to symbolize IWD. Purple symbolizes justice and dignity.
There’s much work to do when it comes to equality and women’s rights, however, here is a collection of positive facts of women making it happen in politics, as entrepreneurs, billionaires and in the corporate world.
In Washington, women’s representation is at an all-time high. 19.4% of the U.S. Congress, 20 % of the U.S. Senate and 19.3% of the House of Representatives are women. Elise Stefanik, age 30, is the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress. Mia Love is the first black female Republican to be elected to Congress.
According to Forbes annual ranking of the World’s Billionaires, the number of female billionaires has increase by 90%. The number grew by 197 women this past year. One of these newcomers was 31 year old Elizabeth Holmes. Holmes, founder of the blood testing company Theranos, is the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
In the U.S. alone there are over 9 million businesses owned by women. These businesses generate over $1.4 trillion in revenue and created 7.8 million jobs. On average, 1,200 new businesses a day are opened by women.
Studies have found that companies that have at least 1 female director out performed those with all male boards by 5%. In addition to this, women-led companies on the S&P 500 have a 19.5% stock gain compared to a 14.9% gain by those led by male CEOs.