International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place on 8 March and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality campaigns around the world.
IWD has been observed since the early 1900s when women started to demand equality. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1914 on 8 March there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in London in support of women’s suffrage and it was at this march that the notable suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square. International Women’s Day was then officially celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975 and used purple as the colour that represents IWD.
International Women’s day has now been made a public holiday in Berlin, the capital and most populous city of Germany. On making the day a public holiday the leader of Germany’s Green party, Nina Stahr said,
“it is important for us that the day remain political…as long as equal rights and representation are not completely achieved, we Greens will not just celebrate March 8, but rather take to the streets and fight for a more just society.”
In London the Women of the World festival kicks off on London’s Southbank the festival includes talks with Angela Davis, and with Naomi Klein on Saturday 9 March. On 8 March the Million Women Rise women-only march takes place in London, instead of the IWD purple, the march organisers have asked marchers to wear red. Their event page says, ‘At the march we ask women to wear something red – the colour of our blood, the blood of our sisters who have been murdered and raped at the hands of male violence. Red is the colour of women’s power, strength, rebellion and determination as well as passion, fire and love.’
The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, and puts innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.
IOHR campaign: #ItsNotAMatch
On International Women’s Day 2019, the International Observatory of Human Rights will launch our new anti-online sex trafficking campaign #ItsNotAMatch. This campaign is dedicated to building awareness about the role online platforms play in recruiting and facilitating sex trafficking.
“In short, the internet is changing the way that sex is sold, leading to fresh models of exploitation.” – Gavin Shuker MP Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade
The internet has enabled sex trafficking to become the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, worth over £100 billion a year, as sex trafficking has moved from the street corner to the smartphone. This expansion correlates with the increasing use of digital platforms to sell people online, because, like any other business, sex traffickers rely on marketing and communication tools to ensure a steady cycle of demand and supply.
Traffickers also use social media to identify potential victims to target and use it against victims when they isolate them from their support systems by restricting or heavily monitoring their social media use. That is why the IOHR is launching a campaign calling for an end to online sex trafficking and to raise awareness of how the apps and platforms we use daily can be used to facilitate the exploitation of vulnerable persons.
As part of the campaign, Christine Meiler, graphic designer for IOHR, has created on-point, vibrant and engaging artwork and designs. We will be releasing a campaign across all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as publishing an infographic poster to be handed out at the march raising awareness of the most common ways traffickers use social media to target and exploit women.
IOHR will be joining the Million Women Rise women’s only march in London on Saturday 9 March to launch the distribution of campaign materials. We will be handing out flyers detailing stories commonly shared by victims of online sex trafficking as well as promoting the national hotline for victims of sex trafficking and modern slavery. In addition, unique animated videos created for our campaign will highlight how online trafficking works.
Finally, at the protest, large, impactful sale tags marked with “Not for sale”, “No discount on women’s rights” and “Real men don’t buy sex” will be carried by IOHR representatives to demonstratively show how women are being sold and exploited. A TV segment will alsobe produced and broadcast on IOHRTV.