International Women’s Day is a testament to all that women achieve and contribute, as well as a reminder of the progress in gender equality yet to be made. This triumph to women has been celebrated since the early 1900s, when 15,000 women marched in New York demanding better wages and voting rights. The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was held in four European countries in 1911 turning out more than one million supporters. Today IWD is celebrated in more than 100 countries and is an official holiday in nearly 30. International Women’s Day has a powerful and storied history bringing change and advancing women’s rights globally.

While IWD honors all that women have accomplished and the rights they have established thus far, it also reminds us of the work we still have to do. The United Nation’s theme for this year’s IWD is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” The theme focuses on the changes taking place in the working world with technological innovations as well as globalization and how they impact women’s already unequal positioning. Women make up 91.4% of the service sector in Northern America while only 4% of CEOs from Fortune 500 companies are women. In addition there is a global wage gap of women earning less than men in roles of equal value averaging 77 cents for every dollar men earn. A global economy running on technology and innovation may make it more difficult for women already working in the margins and without access to progress.

Thaakat emphasizes the independence, progression and equality of women across all its project sites in an effort to close the gender gap in the working world. Our ever-growing DREAMS campuses use counseling to encourage families to send their daughters to our schools. We also offer fare wages to our majority female teachers who stand as living inspiration for the students. Thaakat’s Mushroom Grow’Op in Ghana offers women the chance to learn and manage mushroom production on site. These women earn profits and are able to return to their homes and launch their own production projects. Thaakat’s maternity center in Sierra Leone employs female nurses and provides a safe and clean environment for women to give birth. The center also educates women on disease and empowers them to keep themselves and their babies healthy.

Join us in celebrating women today and every day, by taking a step in helping achieve all International Women’s Day stands for.