Today is International Women’s Day, a day for recognizing the many achievements of women today and throughout history, and also for addressing the serious issues and limitations that women still face all over the world. And who better to celebrate the day with than DC Comics’ two greatest heroines, Wonder Woman and Lois Lane!
Both women are very much onboard for the themes of this year’s International Women’s Day. On the main site for International Women’s Day, this year’s campaign is all about a #PledgeforParity, to close the gender gap in the workplace and government. They suggest:
Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.
A key component of the #PledgeforParity campaign is to “value women and men’s contributions equally” by closing the wage gap, something Wonder Woman would be all about. Back in Sensation Comics #8 in 1942, Diana Prince heard about a local company that was underpaying their female workers, so she went to talk to their boss about it:
He pointed Diana toward the store’s owner, Gloria Bullfinch, and she soon got a visit from Diana Prince’s alter ego, Wonder Woman:
Wonder Woman used her golden lasso to hypnotize Gloria into thinking that she was a worker at her business, allowing her to experience the poor conditions and meager pay of her employees. Her lesson learned, Gloria made things right with her workers, all thanks to Diana and Wonder Woman:
This year, the United Nations has a similar theme for International Women’s Day: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Key targets of this initiative include:
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
- Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
In his annual International Women’s Day message, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon celebrated the achievements of women, writing that “we have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards. Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers.” But he also notes:
In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished. […] On this International Women’s Day, I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls – but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement. Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.
Ban Ki-moon’s theme of shattering glass ceilings would certainly resonate with Lois Lane, who faced an uphill battle to do so at the Daily Planet. In the years following her 1938 debut in Action Comics #1, Lois was relegated to the lovelorn column of the paper but wanted to be a star reporter. Unfortunately, a man was in her way, thwarting her at every turn:
Clark Kent was also Superman, which made Lois’ goals even more difficult to attain. He also had no sympathy for his co-worker, telling Lois to just be happy that she survived the perils she hoped to write about:
But after years of perseverance, Lois made it to the front page and became an ace reporter. She got so good at getting big scoops that soon Clark was fearing for his own job:
Of course, many women today face more ominous circumstances than those in Wonder Woman and Lois Lane’s Golden Age adventures, and we should follow up our celebration of these great heroines by doing all we can to support the goals of this year’s International Women’s Day campaigns. Check out the links above for more information on what you can do to help change the world!