Again a „Women’s Day“ at the 8th March. Again loads of statistics. When did all this begin? Oh – 100 years ago ! A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‚Women’s Office‘ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day … and you can read more about it in wonderful web pages. Others say it was 1911 – but give it a bigger picture after 100 years. I tried to put the whole into phases:
The first big movement was driven by industrialisation, women working and getting new roles in society. The economy was prospering but only the effect of The Great World War (later called First) gave the right spirit that women got more legal rights. At the end of this terrible disaster and killing, women in most of the countries got the right to vote and to be voted. (Get some ideas about it with the great film Iron Jawed Angels about Alice Paul)
Specially in Europe we had a deep recession in the 20ies and 30ies and the upcoming of fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain. The role of women was to be the beauty on the side of the hero. Military values had been high. It was a real hype of proudness and glory, till the war ended the dreams. The second human disaster created the right time and spirit to talk about Human Rights. At the 1945 Yalta Conference, the Allied Powers agreed to create a new body to supplant the League’s role. This body was to be the United Nations, which has played an important role in international human rights law since its creation. Following the World Wars the United Nations and its members developed much of the discourse and the bodies of law which now make up international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Eleanor Roosevelt, during her time at the United Nations, chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Truman called her the „First Lady of the World“ in tribute to her human rights achievements. A lot of countries got independent and the world changed.
The Globalisation and world view of many people was changed through transport and tourism. The world started to be on the move all the time, migration of workforces took place in the 60ies, 70ies. The internet boosted the effect in the 80ies and 90ies. Issues of Human Right lost the face, it was gender-neutral. In the end of the 80ies most people believed that we reached the goal of equal rights. Statistics started to be checked on this and there simply was no statistical data on women. This changed in the late 80ies and provides us with the same figures on women’s day every year: Younger women reach a 25 % share in the management of companies and it declines when women are in the late 30ies to 18 %. In TOP we hardly found 5 % in the 90ies, today it is 3 % or less. The big focus in these days was to integrate family life in the work life. Many talked about Work-life-Balance. For the companies „Maternity leave“ became „parental leave“, at least for some month“. This was the time of all the networks of women in Management. like EWMD in 1984 and BWN in 1986.
A new trend was spotted in Norway, when the government put the „Women on Board“ idea on the table. A proposition was presented to Parliament in Spring 2003 to introduce a legal requirement for at least 40% of boards to be filled by the under-represented gender. The Financial Crisis in 2008 put a lot of light to women leaders in Finance and Politics. More and more questions of who rules the world and who gets paid the bonus is asked. The crisis is still not over but created the spirit for a next step: After Human Rights we need to control the system of resources for all people: Climate (belongs to all), Information flow (all should have access) and money flow (Organised via banks). The Nobel Price for Economy to a women and a men this year was a good sign into this problems.
We reached an interconnectedness of people and nations that needs to support the basic flows. The question is, if it is possible that this is done by private companies, or do we need to build United Nation’s Heritage and Resource management ? (See ideas about that at AAAS) The start of it could be to change the power pattern at the owners (shareholders) with more women. This might lead to a different strategy at the TOP, perhaps to different CEOs, but could give orders for a different management and different products.
100 Years of „Women’s Day“ should give the world a moment to look into history, so that they are able to look into the future.
We need to protect and develop, to reduce and share, to grow and innovate for a better world. And as in all the phases before there is an interconnection between development, wars, rights and conciousness. What Mahatma Gandhi was in the 40ies to India and the world, what Nelson Mandela did in the 90ies for Africa, we need to connect the bright spirits of the world now to cope with the global challenge. Let it be women and men together. It will not be one person. It might be a couple?