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International Women's Day

02 April 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 4


Each year on 8 March, people around the world celebrate International Women's Day. Louise Silverton explains what it means for maternity services, and why it is still needed in 2018

Why, more than 100 years after it was first celebrated, do we still need to observe International Women's Day? Surely, as women make up more than half of the world's population, the need for it has passed? Unfortunately not, and nor is this simply an issue for the developing world: it affects us here in the UK too.

In 2018, 100 years after some women (those who were property owners and aged over 30) got the vote, women still make up less than one-third of MPs at Westminster and 17% of council leaders. Why does this matter? It is not that decisions affecting women can only be made by women, but women's voices need to be heard to avoid important matters being sidelined. Most MPs recognise that they need to represent the interests of all their constituents; however, it appears to be no coincidence that countries whose legislatures achieve gender balance, such as in Scandinavia, seem to have improved equality overall.

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