In recent years, brands have embraced International Women’s Day as a way to show their alignment with female empowerment, but this year’s International Women’s Day, falling within Women’s History Month, hits a little harder. Men and women remain on unequal footing when it comes to equality, whether it’s at work, in the home or in society—and the coronavirus pandemic has eroded much of the progress so far.
Women around the world have been disproportionately affected with job cuts, lack of access to education and burdened with the bulk of childcare and domestic work, as well as facing unprecedented levels of domestic violence. Nearly 20 million girls are in danger of not returning to school, according to the Malala Fund, and women are 1.8 times more vulnerable to lose their jobs, according to McKinsey data. In the U.S., women have lost more than 5.4 million jobs as many have been forced to remain at home with their children while schools stayed closed. In the past year, December was one of the worst months for women; in total, women lost 156,000 jobs while men gained 16,000. Women also form 70% of the world’s health and social sector, tirelessly serving all those suffering from COVID-19. There’s no doubt that women need all the encouragement and support they can get.
Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that this year, the support from brands timed to Women’s History Month—first deemed a month-long celebration by Congress in 1987—and International Women’s Day, which has been around since the early 1900s, has multiplied, with many of the efforts striving to highlight and amplify diverse women heroes in past and recent history.
The issues women are facing at this unprecedented time are highlighted in campaigns from Unilever, Pinterest and others. Meanwhile, Google and Netflix are not only sharing inspiring films dedicated to women pioneers, but are backing up their creative with capital-backed action.