Rather than just asking to be equal with men, on IWD 2016 couldn’t we instead ask how we can improve the world for both men and women?

Another year, another International Women’s Day (IWD) – and yes, before anyone asks in the comments, there is an International Men’s Day. I’ve written before about how important it is that we have at least one day a year which highlights the disparity in rights, freedoms and economics between men and women, but this year even I am questioning the point of it. Not because I think we’ve finally hit equality, far from it, but because this year’s campaign pledge for parity seems so completely toothless.

Looking at what the official IWD website is asking of its pledgees, it seems to be little more than a vague commitment to treating people like human beings. The IWD website includes a page of “global leaders” such as Sir Richard Branson and, errr, a few CEOs of businesses you might have heard of, possibly. They’re all citing their commitment to the pledge for parity. But when that pledge requires such basics as “helping all women and girls achieve their ambitions” and promising to “value men and women’s contributions equally”, it doesn’t exactly seem like world changing stuff. When did we get so obsessed with parity anyway? The more I look around the world, the less convinced I become that the definition of success we’re trying to shoehorn women into is really that successful at all. Rather than calling for parity, shouldn’t we be calling for progress?