Last year was the first year I had even heard of International Women’s Day. It was a friend in India that actually notified me that such a day even existed.

I was ecstatic to find out that there was a day to celebrate women and our achievements. Unknown to me March 8th has been designated to celebrate women since 1911. Initially organised by the German socialist and theorist Clara Zetkin along with 100 delegates from 17 countries in March 1911 to get women the vote. This event attracted over a million women across Europe.

Of course several countries took up the mantle and the UK gave women the right to vote in 1918. Way behind New Zealand who gave women the right to vote back in 1893 and of course Saudi Arabia who only voted in equal employment rights for women last year.

The United Nations first began celebrating the day on 8 March in 1975, and each year has helped to promote the focus to women’s status around the globe.

Despite the global platform there are still many issues that we face as women that need to be worked on.

  • It is predicted that even in today’s modern society we will face another 118-year wait for the gender pay gap to close.
  • A quarter of a billion more women are in the workforce today than a decade ago, they are only earning what men did in 2006, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • The % of women on boards and government positions is still around a fifth of that of male counterparts.
  • Increasing awareness of the disproportionate amount of abuse women suffer at the hands of others. 120 million girls and women under the age of 20 have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse.

There are many goals still to be achieved in order to be truly “equal”. Thankfully the UN and World Leaders are jointly focused on making the necessary changes and providing a global environment to ensure a “democratic representation in parliaments across the world”.

Today is also a day of celebrating the achievements. Here are the most powerful women in the world that are changing the dynamics.

  1. Angela Merkel – German Chancellor
  2. Hillary Clinton – Presidential candidate, United States
  3. Melinda Gates – Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  4. Janet Yellen – Chair, Federal Reserve, Washington, United States
  5. Marry Barra – CEO of General Motors
  6. Christina Lagarde – Managing director, IMF
  7. Dilma Rousseff – President, Brazil
  8. Sheryl Sandberg – COO of Facebook
  9. Susan Wojcicki – CEO of You Tube
  10. Michelle Obama – First lady, United States

In the meantime, let’s celebrate all our own successes no matter how big or small.