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  • Ann-Christin Korsing

International Women's Day – What women are fighting for in 2019

One should think that in 2019 we will have arrived at the age where women and men are treated equally, but a recent report by the World Bank Group has shown that women are still disadvantaged nearly everywhere in the world. Only six countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden— treat women and men equally when it comes to legal rights. These countries scored 100 this year, whereas no country reached that score a decade ago. So slowly, we are on a way for a betterment in society.

I have noticed that especially this year women continue fighting their way to become equal to men: in society, arts, politics, law and in fashion. Today, on International Women's Day, media will highly focus on women's rights and equality, but it's a topics that needs to be continuous, not just celebrated once a year. We need to be aware of it when we practice public relations, for example in internal communication or transparency.

It's only March, but here's what women have already achieved in 2019:

Lady Gaga wants to ditch gender categories

Let's start with the event for the biggest cinematic achievements: the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. This year, 15 of the gold statues were taken home by women — the most in Oscars history. Lady Gaga , who won an Oscar for the Best Original Song with Shallow from A Star is Born, gave a very inspirational speech afterwards, on Jimmy Kimmel Live: “If you work hard and don’t give up, you can do anything.” The actress, who calls herself a feminist, also stood up for other disadvantaged:

“I have a true dream in our future as we evolve as humanity that these award shows not be male and female, but that we include everyone."

Women celebrating themselves during Trump's speech Beginning of February, the news about the female House members dressed in white at Donald Trump's second State of the Union address spread around the world. Many, including Nancy Pelosi were dressed in white in tribute to the women's suffrage movement and celebrated with standing up and cheering when Trump said: "No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year". This enthusiasm shows that women equality it is not taken for granted, not even in politics, and that it needs to be worked on.

First country to make gender pay gap illegal

On January 1st, Iceland has started the new year with becoming the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women. Starting that day, organisations with more than 25 employees will need to obtain government certification for their equal-pay policies. Failing to fulfill these legal requirements will confront fines. Making reference to the World Bank's Report, it is a signal to the world: Politicians can make a difference in changing society and behavior, but mostly no use is made of it, when it comes to gender pay gaps.

Don't mess with girl power

– This is a lesson that Paul Ziemiak, the general secretary of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, learned on February 8th this year when he tweeted his opinion about the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The 16-year-old girl criticised that Germany does not want to completely abandon coal until 2038. Much too late, she thinks, it is "absurd". Ziemiak answered her not very sensitive: "Greta Thunberg finds German coal compromise "absurd" - Oh, man... not a word about jobs, security of supply, affordability. Only pure ideology 🙈 Poor Greta!". You can imagine: His reaction had a huge backlash on Twitter – a shitstorm – where even other politicians got involved defending Greta: The green politician Renate Künast, for example, criticised him of being "emotionally cold".

One lesson public relations can learn from this story is that no young, committed girl should be prevented from working for a good cause (climate change). Especially not in that tone.

Battling stereotypes: What women have to wear

The South Korean television series Ms. Hammurabi shows how women are treated sometimes. Of course this is a comedy sequence, which is humorous and exaggerated, but it is still an eye opener emphasising that women are not treated equally anywhere in the world.

Let me know if you think women are treated as equal as men in your country and follow me on Twitter: @thoughtsaboutpr.

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