BRUSSELS/OSLO – The European Students’ Union (ESU) celebrates the international women’s day, held every year on 8 March in honour of women that fought and are fighting for a more equal society.
The first international women’s day was organised in 1911 to raise awareness of the underprivileged status of women in the world. The primary goal was to promote women’s voting rights. Many battles were fought and won since then. Our societies claim to be more equal and accessible than ever. And this in some parts true. But there are still many battles that need to be fought, before we can begin to speak about true equality.
One of the areas that still needs to undergo a transformation is the educational sector as it is the keystone for the future of young women. Even though education as such is accessible to women and more women than men enroll in studies in higher education based on data from the European Parliament. It is clear that women are still underrepresented when career statistics are analysed in the fields of science and technology. As a consequence, they work afterwards in underpaid and undervalued areas, like caretaking.
Without an equal representation of genders in professional and study fields, the supposed correlation between the number of women enrolling in higher education and equality is misleading. Furthermore, women drop out of the academia at every threshold. This is not only a problem for women but for the quality of education and research as a whole. Women are still vastly underrepresented in Europe in positions of power. This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously at every level.
ESU uses this occasion to emphasise that equality is not yet achieved when the biological sexes male and female are superficially treated and regarded equal, but when all genders are treated equal. As long as inequality between genders remains, true equality will not be reached. The international women`s day does not only celebrate the achieved but continues to be an international encouragement for people to keep on fighting and #MakeItHappen.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.