History of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day has a long and rich history, dating back to 1908 when thousands of women took to the streets of New York to protest for better working conditions, higher pay, and voting rights. The movement quickly gained momentum, and in 1910, attendees of the International Conference of Working Women voted to create a Women’s Day, which was first celebrated in 1911. More than a million people attended rallies across Europe.
In 1975, the United Nations officially adopted International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8th each year. However, it was only in recent years that the day has been recognised and celebrated in Japan.
Despite progress in women’s rights and workplace equality, there is still much work to be done. According to a recent report by the United Nations, women’s job market participation has stagnated at less than 50% for the past 25 years. In Japan, women represent only 21.1% of the workforce in the information and communications industry, including technology jobs (1). When it comes to leadership roles this percentage is reduced to only 6.3% (compared to 93.7% for males).
Why does International Women’s Day matter?
The first women’s march was about ending harmful workplace conditions and exploitation, and whilst great progress has been made there is still more work to be done. Even in developed countries, progress towards gender equality remains slow and this is especially true in Japan. A 2021 report by the World Economic Forum ranks Japan 120th out of 156 countries in terms of gender equality.
To celebrate International Women’s Day and in recognition of the gender workplace disparity in Japan, Tealium hosted a lunch in Tokyo last week. We were joined by Yuimko Tajima from Bramante Co.,Ltd. (ex Microsoft Director in Japan) who spoke of her experience in challenging work environments and the importance of cultivating our career paths as women.
International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the progress made but there is a long way to go. At Tealium our brand values are to stay ‘connected’ and remain ‘curious’. Having this day gave us the opportunity to stop and challenge ourselves about what we are doing to support the women at Tealium. It also gave us the time to reflect on the progression of gender equality in the workplace. We were honoured to have other women in the Japanese tech industry join us to network over lunch for IWD and we were especially grateful to have Yumiko Tajima as such an inspiring speaker to celebrate the day.
– Marie-Louise Dalton, Vice President, Marketing APJ at Tealium
United Nations, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” 2017.
“Women in IT Scorecard Japan 2021,” Japan Information Technology Services Industry Association.
World Economic Forum, “The Global Gender Gap Report 2021.”