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International Women’s Day 2020 – being part of a whole

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) – a good day for contemplative reflection over why, in 2020, we still need to earmark a day to highlight a fundamental gender inequality issue that affects the lives, health, opportunities, and influence of roughly 50 percent of the global population.

As a “male” it would be easy to just “celebrate” International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020 with a few passing superlatives about the women in our personal and professional lives. And whilst true and well deserved, it would be a disservice if we, at the same time, do not actively strive to bridge the gender equality gap in our homes, our schools, our businesses and workplaces, our academic, cultural, judicial, medical and political institutions, and our societies.

In short, every day should be a woman’s day just as much as it is man’s day, in a gender-equal world. Sadly, the reality is that in 2020, the gender equality disparity ranges from subtle institutional to medieval oppressive with horrors such as so-called “honour killings” and female genital mutilation (FGM) still widely held and practiced.

That is why, as a person who believes that everyone should receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender (or anything else for that matter), it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day by recognizing the accomplishments of women everywhere while advocating for gender equality.

In the biomass to energy world, there is no shortage of things being accomplished by people who just happen to be women, be it in a leadership or a supportive role, a front figure or a background fixer. Some are roles made by choice, others are definitely not – collecting firewood for cooking (and cooking itself) is still designated, by a man, as a typical “woman’s chore” in many parts of the world.

At Bioenergy International, two highly qualified, talented and dedicated individuals that it is both a pleasure and a privilege to work with and without whom this publication would not exist, make up two-thirds of the core team.

As their invaluable contributions seldom make any headlines yet there would simply be no headlines without them, it is only fitting to highlight this in the context of the IWD 2020 campaign theme which is drawn from the notion of ‘Collective Individualism’, we are all parts of a whole.

As such, our individual actions, conversations, behaviors, and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender-equal world.

Bioenergy International’s own two smart, hard-working and dedicated bioenergy heroines, Jeanette Fogelmark (left) and Dorota Natucka-Persson account for most of the “behind the scenes” work at Bioenergy International.

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