Let’s admit it, International Women’s Day has never felt more pointless

If I see one more cheesy quote I’m going to scream x


International Women’s Day lost its bite some time ago. What originally started as a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women designed to honour the movement for women’s rights and encourage support for universal suffrage has quickly diluted down to “IWD20” fast fashion discount codes and tacky quote-filled Insta stories and Facebook statuses: “There’s nothing a man can do, that I can’t do better and in heels!”

Evidently, it’s all quite gag-reflex-triggeringly cringe— this is nothing new. But International Women’s Day feels especially pointless this year because there’s actually nothing to celebrate. Things are genuinely getting worse. Progress has slowed to such a point some experts think we’re going backwards. So, in case you’ve had enough of your timeline being littered with motivation (“She wasn’t looking for a knight, she was looking for a sword”) while trad wives and Andrew Tate take over the internet, here are all the issues and inequalities to remain aware of this International Women’s Day:

Violence against women and girls is still one of the biggest crimes in the country

There were 862,765 reports of domestic abuse offences in the year ending September 2023, according to Refuge. This means domestic abuse accounts for nearly one in six crimes reported in the UK. Conviction rates are staggeringly low at five per cent.

110 women were killed by men in the UK in 2020 – half of whom were killed by their partner or ex, according to the Femicide Census. Violence against women was declared an “urgent national priority” two years ago after Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa were killed in the space of six months. Little has changed societally since then. 

There’s been a huge rise in sexist language and behaviour among the next generation of men

Andrew Tate’s seemingly unstoppable presence on social media platforms has seen the way the next generation of men treat women become drastically more aggressive. In February this year, 70 per cent of teachers reported an increase in sexist language and behaviour in classroom. Additionally, around 20 per cent of men between 16 and 29 actively like Tate, according to Ipsos and King’s College London.

Andrew Tate’s seemingly unstoppable presence on social media platforms has seen the way the next generation of men treat women become drastically more aggressive. In February this year, 70 per cent of teachers reported an increase in sexist language and behaviour in classroom. Additionally, around 20 per cent of men between 16 and 29 actively like Tate, according to Ipsos and King’s College London.

Ever feel like you got to the doctors and you can’t get them to take you seriously? Well, you’re not alone because 84 per cent of women say there have been times when they weren’t listened to by healthcare professionals, according to the government’s “Women’s Health – Let’s Talk About It” survey.

Additionally, abortion still isn’t decriminalised in England, Wales or Scotland. Over the past year, reports have suggested an increase in women being prosecuted for terminating their pregnancies and being sent to prison for making the choice.

Women are still earning less than men in the UK right now

Despite the Equal Pay Act coming into effect in 1970, women in the UK today still earn 86p for every £1 earned by a man, according to the Office for National Statistics. This makes the new average gender pay gap 14.3 per cent for both full and part time workers. This gap only widens when you incorporate race and disability.

Discrimination against trans women is on the rise

4,732 hate crimes against transgender people were recorded as of March 2023, which is an 11 per cent increase since the previous year. In February 2023, 16-year-old Brianna Ghey was violently killed by Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe in a transphobic attack. A year later, Rishi Sunak made a transphobic joke in front of Brianna’s mother in the House of Commons and refused to apologise.

Misogyny goes all the way to our government

Currently women make up only 35 per cent of MPs and 29 per cent in the Lords. But politics is hardly an inviting environment to work in for women in the UK.

In December last year, Secretary of State for the Home Department, James Cleverly made a joke about putting the date rape rug Rohypnol in his wife’s drink. “A little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night” is “not really illegal if it’s only a little bit” he told guests at a Downing Street Party.

A cabinet minister was forced to deny a “cultural issue” among Tory MPs last October when an eighth Conservative this parliament lost the whip for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• It’s harder than it should be to get an abortion in the UK – and it’s getting worse 

Elianne Andam’s death is a harsh reminder why women are afraid to say no to men

• All of the feeble excuses the Met Police made for having a serial rapist in their ranks