Equal opportunities

International Women's Day - less flowers, more equality

In many countries around the world, including the Grand Duchy, 8 March is the day of women's rights.

08-journee-femmes8 March every year provides an opportunity to step up communication about women's rights and the gender gap that is still too wide. It's not so much a day for celebration as an opportunity to determine how much progress has been made so far, and to honour the brave acts carried out by women today and in the past. UN Women decides on a different theme each year. The theme for 2017 is ,"Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030".  

A well-organised national event

Fraendag is the Luxembourgish name for International Women's Day (IWD). This year, instead of a theme, the Documentation and Information Centre for Women has decided on a number of key subjects, including: women's rights, international solidarity, self-determination, and emancipation. To promote the Day, a website is available at www.fraendag.lu; this provides all the main information on the history of women's rights in the Grand Duchy, and details about the feminists who have left their mark on the country, as well as information on the scheduled events taking place on the Day itself.

The Grand Duchy's programme covering 8 to 12 March 2017 is set out in the leaflet produced by 'CID-Femmes'  (Documentation and Information Centre for Women).

Particularly worth noting on Wednesday, 8 March - at 8 p.m. - is a concert in the Robert Krieps Hall at Neimënster by an all-female jazz quintet. The following days will see a series of workshops of all kinds connected with women's rights, a committed cinema screening, a round-table discussion, exhibitions, etc. Note that these events are not for women exclusively, but for the general public as a whole.  

The Grand Duchy is a model of gender equality

In the Grand Duchy there is still a considerable gender gap in terms of political emancipation. The country is nevertheless well placed with regard to the pay gap and the education gap. Globally, the pay gap is 24%, whereas in the Grand Duchy it was 4.9% in 2015. And indeed a recent study shows that gender equality in the Grand Duchy as far as pay is concerned ought to become a reality by 2022. That's good news, when you know that the obligation to provide equal pay for the same job done by both men and women in the Grand Duchy only goes back about fifty years!

A bit of history ...

The first International Women's Day was held in 1910, and the event was officially adopted in the Grand Duchy in 1929, thanks to the socialist organisation 'Foyer de la Femme'.

In 1977, the United Nations officialised IWD and invited each country to devote one day a year to celebrating women's rights and international peace. It wasn't until 1979 that the UN ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Convention came into force in 1981. It was in the same year that gender equality at work was recognised internationally (companies are no longer allowed to refuse a person a job because of their gender).

So there has been some gradual change in gender rights and equality in the past hundred years, but there is still a long way to go, both in the Grand Duchy and worldwide. 

(article written by the editorial team of the portal luxembourg.lu)

  • Updated 06-03-2017