#InspireInclusion: International Women’s Day

By Dr. Madhulika Sahoo

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day of collective global action and celebration that belongs to all those committed to shaping women’s equality. The theme for this year IWD 2024 is Inspire Inclusion.

According to the IWD community “To Inspire Inclusion means to celebrate diversity and empowerment on International Women’s Day 2024 and beyond. Emphasizing the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society”. This further calls for action to break down the barriers, eradicate the stereotypes, and create safe environments where all women are valued and respected. It encourages humankind to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities. One of the key pillars of inspiring inclusion is the promotion of diversity in leadership and decision-making. Women, especially those belonging to underrepresented groups, continue to face barriers to seeking leadership positions.

Shutterstock (2024)

As an anthropologist, I always see tribal communities are the most underrepresented groups in modern times. The tribal people’s participation in the development process is less visible. Especially the tribal women who play a vital role in community development and climate change while protecting the forest. They also play a leading role in reducing the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2021). They are considered to be the traditional food providers and are in continuous efforts to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change (World Bank, 2022). However, it is important to highlight that tribal women are worst affected during any natural hazards disasters like floods or cyclones. Without tribal women’s inclusion in disaster risk management and development programmes, gender inequalities cannot be eliminated.

The theme of IWD’s inclusion is consistent with the Avoidable Deaths Network’s (ADN) global campaign – ‘International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths’ (IAD4AD) – celebrated throughout March 2024. I am an Operations Member of the ADN and I am glad that this public-engagement global campaign, which was launched on 12 March 2023 in the city of Izumiotsu in Japan allows us to raise awareness of the causes and circumstances of indirect disaster deaths and missing persons. Understanding the circumstances of tribal women that lead to exclusion in disaster risk reduction processes is vital to developing context-specific solutions to #inspireinclusion to mitigate the risk of extreme weather events and climate change.


IWD (2024) IWD: International Women’s Day 2024 campaign theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion. Available at: internationalwomensday.com/2024theme

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2021) Indigenous Women Vital to Climate Action. Available at: unfccc.int/news/indigenous-women-vital-to-climate-action

The World Bank (2022) Indigenous women leaders persevere amid a changing climate. Available at: Climate Stories | Indigenous Peoples (worldbank.org)

ADN (2024) International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths. Available at:  iad4ad.avoidable-deaths.net/

Author’s Short Bio: Dr. Madhulika Sahoo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Director of Student Welfare and Placement at Maa Manikeshwari University, Kalahandi, Odisha, India.

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