A statement issued by Priska Fleischlin, IFSW UN Global Commissioner and the IFSW UN Regional Commissioners:
This year, International Women’s Day is celebrated for the hundredth time. In 1909, in New York, World Women’s day honoured the women who protested against the bad working conditions – courageous women! 100 years later the focus is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
In the past 100 years there have been many pioneers in social work – also in the present time, IFSW knows many social work pioneers. Brave women – with or without the support of their surroundings – who recognized grievances and left the trampled path to achieve an improvement of the circumstances. What is often forgotten is that pioneers are usually not successful in the first attempt. Rather, the path of a pioneer is accompanied by many failed and sometimes painful losses. A pioneer needs a lot of energy – and at some point, support.
So it would be wrong for women alone to do pioneering work for the equal treatment of men and women. Everyone can do pioneering work, after all we always decide with our behaviour whether old grievances are maintained or changed. If gender-related grievances are known, then there is already a pioneer who opposes it, may it be in the family, in the community or in greater resistance, who says ‘here we need to improve the situation for our mother, our sister, my wife and my daughter, colleague or other women’.
In this sense, and knowing that we do not know your life situation, we want to encourage you all. Courage to approach ideas and visions for a more just world. To all who do not want to do this themselves, we wish you the courage to bolster some of your colleagues up. The courage to think for yourself and to rethink given routines. Courage to develop ideas and visions for a fairer world, step by step. For all those who do not want this themselves, we wish the courage to strengthen your pioneering colleagues. Pioneers need the community to support them. Therefore, assisting them can be done by positively influencing the conversations in the family, at work and in the community. Ensure that knowledge is shared and that discussions are sought with people who put obstacles in the way of the pioneers. Surely there are more possibilities in your everyday life?
The IFSW UN Commissioner and her colleagues who are active in the field of women’s rights, would like to report your experiences – contact us and share your experiences. We support courageous colleagues who do pioneering work along the definition of social work and the professional code.
We would like to greet and especially thank on International Women’s Day all the pioneering women who have led social transformations, who have left a mark for other women to follow in this path, who have risked their lives to expand civil, social and economic rights. Brave women, who often do not appear in the newspapers and who anonymously contribute to the construction of a fairer, more humane and less violent world. They deserve the recognition of the international community. As women social workers, we accompany the work and actions of our colleagues around the world and we are very proud of their daily work