Today is International Women's Day
Over the past week I have read numerous articles and discussions on International Women's Day which has been celebrated annually since 1909, when it was first organised by the Socialist Party of America.
This was in remembrance of the strike the previous year instigated by the International Ladies Garment Workers union.
There have been events to celebrate and applaud women's success in all walks of life, including Business, Science and Technology, the Arts, Sport and Equality. The theme this year is "Make It Happen".
Amongst the discussion has been the question of whether we really need the day anymore - we have after all come a long way since 1909. Though progress has been made in many areas there are women in the so called "most developed" countries who do not have equal pay, are subject to exploitation and violence and and are far from equal even in the basics of human rights.
In my own town - and many others in this country, it seems - we are continuing to experience the aftermath of the Child Sexual Exploitation scandal, where hundreds of girls have become victims of appalling abuse. The abuse has been allowed to happen and perpetuated by attitudes and actions that I find hard to believe are still possible in the 21st century. (It is written about elsewhere and does not need further explanation here. )
International Women's Day is a product of women wanting, needing and working for change. It is more than teaching our girls the power of believing in themselves. It is more than appointing women to be councillors, directors, lawyers or any other traditionally male roles.
There is much that has been changed in the last 100 years, but it is not enough.
We must continue to "Make It Happen" no matter what or how difficult the circumstances are and no matter how many the defeats.
Women can not do this alone ; the support of the men in our world is vital to achievement and success, and vice versa.
Make it happen today and every day in the future.