#ChooseToChallenge is particularly apt for International Women’s Day 2021
As we leave the challenging year of 2020 behind, the effects for women continue to linger. The pandemic appears to have negatively affected women in much higher proportions than men. While statistically more men are dying of COVID-19, it’s the women who are suffering more economically.
Women have lost more jobs—in fact, more than 5 million jobs have been lost, about a million more than men—largely due to more women working in harder-hit industries such as hospitality, services and domestic work. Women are dropping from the workforce to care for children who are not in school. This leads to more food insecurity and poverty, disproportionally affecting women, especially single-parent homes.
Additionally, 70 percent of healthcare workers and first responders are women, putting them at higher health risk as the pandemic lingers. And enormous increases in domestic violence due to prolonged lockdowns also put women at high risk.
Choose to challenge
We must challenge the factors that lead to these inequalities for women, and the 2021 theme for International Women’s Day could not be more apt. #ChooseToChallenge means that as we all observe or experience inequalities, we must speak up for change. While we choose to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality, we must also choose to be more alert and aware of women’s situations and choose to challenge them.
While International Women’s Day is a global event celebrated on March 8, the call to support and act for the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women is year-round.
IBM answers the call
IBM is well known for its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. In IBM Lab Services and IBM Garage we work every day with clients, helping them with their business and IT challenges. And as we offer our expertise, diverse backgrounds and experiences, we are also committed to improving and advancing women’s equality. We strive every day to uphold IBM’s values of diversity and inclusion, and for International Women’s Day, we invited our team to take a stand on how they will choose to challenge for their colleagues, families and all women.
As the International Women’s Day statement says, “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.” So let’s all choose to challenge—today and every day. Together, we can make 2021 and beyond better for all women.