Mayor Ivy Taylor, City Manager Sheryl Sculley and the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women commemorated San Antonio’s 11th Annual International Women’s Day on Thursday afternoon.
The luncheon benefitted the Pathways to Leadership Scholarship, which supports women who are pursuing higher education. In 2016, $75,000 in scholarships was awarded to deserving female students in San Antonio.
The mayor and city manager offered welcoming remarks and Catherine Nixon Cooke, author of “Juan O’Gorman: A Confluence of Civilizations,” delivered a keynote address to remind women that all dreams are possible. While the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women focuses on a number of issues affecting our community, education remains a key focus of its efforts.
“This is a great opportunity for us to support young women in getting the educational foundational background they need to achieve their dreams and become leaders in our community. I am proud of the work the commission has done,” Mayor Taylor told La Prensa.
International Women’s Day is a global celebration highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. This year’s theme, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” aims to increase participation in the workforce and to address gender-based income inequality.
Currently, only 50 percent of working age women are represented in the labor force globally compared to 76 percent of men in data provided by the United Nations (UN). Measures for achieving that end also include a gender pay gap currently at 24 percent globally, making the current annual pay for women what men’s salaries were a decade ago.
The UN’s agenda is to recognize women’s often inadequate maternity leave and uncompensated roles of stay-at-home parents; address the gender gaps in leadership, entrepreneurship and development of stringent legislation against sexual assault; and ensure gender-responsive economic policies for job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth.
Sculley echoed the Mayor’s sentiment that women could start lifting each other up one step at a time.
“For the past decade, the [City of San Antonio] has supported and recognized International Women’s Day,” stated Sculley. “We celebrate the achievement of International Women’s Day, connecting women around the world and inspiring them to reach their full potential. [We] recognize this powerful contribution locally and worldwide.”
Formally “International Working Women’s Day,” the holiday originated on Feb. 28, 1909 in New York after the 1908 strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. An estimated 15,000 workers marched and demanded social and political rights.
Five years later, March 8 became the day chosen because it landed on a Sunday, a day off for a majority of women who were ready to participate in marches or other events. More than a century has passed since then, and there is still progress to be made for all the strides thus far.