Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Issues Tackled by International Women’s Day Groups

Gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation against women are perennial concerns. To raise awareness of these issues, women’s rights groups around the globe commemorated March 8th as International Women’s Day.

March 8th, 2010 was actually the centennial International Women’s Day. (The first took place in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1910). This year, dozens of countries participated. In Australia, for instance, nearly 100 events were organized to commemorate the day. Countries as far flung as Vietnam, Armenia, China and Russia declared 2010 International Women’s Day to be a National Holiday. In the UK, organizers put together over 200 events – from marches to poetry readings to comedy showcases to parades to fundraisers. Here in the United States, over 107 official events were organized. These likewise included fundraisers, parades, entertainment events, conferences, and speeches by esteemed leaders at top colleges around the U.S.

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the workplace were common themes at many IWD events. Each country has its own laws and morality concerning these issues. (What we in the United States might consider to be gender discrimination is incredibly different from what people in rural China, for instance, consider gender discrimination.)

But by raising awareness of the systematic abuse, denigration, and underappreciation of women in the workforce, hopefully IWD will level the playing field somewhat for some women. After all, studies suggest that raising awareness on any issue – almost independent of what it is – can have a meaningful impact on outcomes. For instance, a recent study suggested that people who monitor their home heating use end up saving substantial energy every month, even if they are not instructed in ANY WAY about how to conserve. Just the very fact that they DO observe creates a subconscious impetus to change. Thus, public discussion of gender discrimination and sexual harassment may make employers and employees more aware of rules of best conduct.

If you or a coworker or family member has suffered gender discrimination or harassment at your job, or if you’ve been retaliated against for complaining about discrimination or harassment, you may be entitled to significant compensation under the law. Discuss your situation with the expert attorneys of Joseph & Kirschenbaum. Reach us at (212) 688-5640 or, on the web, at www.jhllp.com.