12 petitions to support this International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a focal point in the women’s rights movement. First organised by the Socialist Party of America, and first formally recognised in the Soviet Union, the day originally centred the experiences of working women. Today, the scope of IWD is much, much broader, and gives focus to female empowerment in every area of social, economic, cultural and political life.

The diversity of causes championed by women is reflected on From international affairs and the cost of living crisis to reproductive rights and accessibility in sport, here is a selection of some of the issues that are mobilising women on our platform.

Women in Palestine

Across the UK, International Women’s Day rallies will march in solidarity with Palestinian women this year, who continue to experience grave humanitarian conditions in the face of indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Gaza. Fatema is urging the UK to urgently reinstate its UNWRA funding, with a public announcement from the Government expected shortly.

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health throughout life has been a particular focus for users this year. In the midst of the cost of living crisis, Leigh is campaigning for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland’s example in addressing period poverty by making menstrual products free.

Kim’s petition to have menopause designated as a protected characteristic had a boost last week when the Equality and Human Rights Commission released guidance confirming that menopausal women could be protected from workplace discrimination on the grounds of disability; but Kim still wants to see a change in primary legislation to offer even greater protections.

Hayley’ petition for testosterone to be made available to menopausal women on the NHS as a hormonal prescription is in line with best practice.

Families and Parenthood

Ellouise is campaigning for statutory maternity pay to be extended from six to 12 weeks. She argues that forcing mothers to return to work after just six weeks “is not only physically challenging but also emotionally taxing as it hinders their ability to fully bond with their newborn baby”.

Alistair’s petition to increase paternity pay, meanwhile, notes that the current imbalance between paternity and maternity pay reinforces negative gendered stereotypes of the male breadwinner and female caregiver: “It’s time to reassess these outdated rules that do not reflect today’s cost of living nor promote gender equality in parenting responsibilities.”

Inderjit has highlighted the disproportionate impact of the cost of living crisis on women and children, and has called for the creation of a National Women’s Fund – in addition to the low income cost of living payments administered by the DWP – to address the imbalance.

Around 16 babies a year are abandoned in the UK, and experts are warning that this may increase due to the impact of the cost of living crisis. Tosin, who was herself abandoned as a child, is campaigning for the UK to introduce safe haven baby boxes – such as the system that already exists in the US.

Domestic Violence

Angela, a survivor of domestic violence, believes that family courts are failing people like her. She is calling for the wholesale implementation of domestic violence training for members of the judiciary, and writes: “The abuse I experienced changed my life forever – please join me in calling for an end to parental alienation and training on domestic violence for the judiciary.”

Women in Business

Becky is campaigning against increases to angel investor thresholds, saying that they will only exacerbate gender inequality in the investment and entrepreneurial sector. She makes a powerful argument, pointing out that “with less than 3% of angel and venture capital investments being awarded to women in the UK, it’s clear that we are far from achieving equal representation”.

Women’s Sport

After a bumper year for women’s sport, users are campaigning to make top level sport more accessible for viewers. A group of ‘future Lionesses’ are demanding live streams of women’s under 16 and under 21s FA Cup fixtures, and Charlie is urging the BBC to broadcast England Women’s rugby fixtures.

Written by
Nick Mitchell
March 8, 2024 2:32 pm