School of Nursing

March 8, 2020

International Women’s Day

Today, March 8 is International Women’s Day. It is a time to pause and consider the role that women play globally in making the world a better place to live. It is also a time to recognize how far we have yet to go in terms of creating societies that are truly equal.

The International Women’s Day 2020 theme is, “I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.” In far too many countries, women have far too few rights. Women are treated unequally in terms of education, pay parity, social status, marital rights, and many other things.

As a female-majority profession, nursing can be a powerful catalyst for change. Nurses play a vital healthcare role in every country, and it is past time for their work to be acknowledged, respected, and seen for what it is—essential, and in many cases lifesaving. It is nurses who are carrying the bulk of the care responsibility as the world faces the current coronavirus pandemic. It is at moment such as this that the world can clearly see how important a well-educated, well-paid, well-respected global force of nurses is.

There are two parallel campaigns in progress—Nursing Now and the World Health Organization’s International Year of the Nurse and Midwife—that are focusing on the crucial role of nurses and attempting to improve make nurses full healthcare partners globally.

These campaigns, and International Women’s Day, are important, but they will be significant if and only if their momentum extends beyond one day or one year. There is an urgent need for significant change, and a compelling reason to advocate strongly for that change, which will benefit everyone.