International Women's Day 2021

Posted on March 8, 2021 (Last Updated: February 27, 2024)

March 8th marks an important date on the calendar: International Women’s Day.

It’s a day to highlight not only the strides that have been made for equality, but also the work that’s left to be done to achieve it. In this newly updated article we are looking at the real statistics which strike action is highlighting globally and the knock on impacts of this.

Highlighting the impacts of an economy without women

Mass global protests last year brought into particular focus the continuing inequality in pay across almost all nations. For example, in the US, for every 1 dollar a man makes, a woman will make 80.7 cents (source). 

There are of course multiple factors that contribute towards statistics like this - but an estimated 64% of pay inequality couldn't be explained by factors like employment levels difference or maternity leave. 

Women work nearly two-thirds of the minimum-wage jobs in the US - median annual earnings for full-time female workers were $39,621 in 2014, compared to $50,383 for men. So if women were not contributing to the economy, median earnings would suddenly rise sharply.

Combined with this is the fact that in the majority of European countries, an estimated 75% of unpaid work is carried out by women (see graph below) (source).  

gender volunteer chart


Loss of half the workforce

Women account for 47% of all workers in the US and this is a figure matched in Europe (46.2%).

As well as working the vast majority of minimum wage jobs, women also contribute more than three-quarters of public school teachers, so the education system would collapse without them.

In fact, as a direct impact of last year's protests on March 8th, many school ordered children to stay at home, because they were too understaffed to stay open. 

Impact on industries

Women account for the majority of workers in many fields, according to Census data, including:

• 96% of all dental hygienists
• 91% of all registered nurses
• 84% of all cashiers
• 60% of all accountants
• 53% of all pharmacists

In Europe, roughly 49% of doctors and physicians are female - but women account for the majority in several specialties—including obstetrics/gynecology (85%), as well as psychiatry (57%), family medicine (58%), and pediatrics (75%).

Implementing equal pay 

In the US, implementing equal pay would cut the poverty of working women in half. As well as this, an extra 512 billion would be contributed to the US economy, GDP would increase by 5%.

Household work and childcare would also suffer. 
Although men are doing more housework and spending more time with their children than they used to, the statistics show that women still do most household duties.

A Pew Social Trends study shows that mothers devote 13.5 hours per week to childcare, compared to 7.3 hours for dads. According to the Bureau of Labour statistics, women spend on average:

  • 37 minutes cooking (compared with 17 for men).
  • 29 minutes cleaning (vs. 10).
  • 17 minutes doing laundry each day (vs. 5 ).

On top of this, 70% of women say they handle most of their household’s grocery shopping. In total, women spend an average of two hours and 15 minutes daily on household chores, compared to one hour and 25 minutes for men—a 50-minute difference.

The impact on e-commerce

More organizers of IWD events are urging participants to avoid the brands trying to cash in on the hype around the event.

They are instead encouraging contribution to charities, created for women, offering aid on domestic abuse, education and period poverty. 

So what would the impact be on the e-commerce industry if all women were to avoid shopping for this day? The table below shows a break-down of shopping categories and the gender split between men and women (source: Statista). From this we can see that fashion, clothing and Health and beauty would take the biggest hit. 

gender share ecommerce categories

Brand leverage of International Woman's Day

March 8th acts both to show women's solidarity and as a means of empowering women to motivate each other and mobilize. When it comes to marketing, many businesses have begun using it as a way of displaying their values and to show their fans their views. 

Some have handled this leveraging of a social issue better than others, for example:

The business behind the "Fearless Girl" statue that faced up to Wall Street's "Charging Bull" on International Women's Day 2017 has been campaigning for companies to appoint more women to their boards.

girl and a bull (1)

ImpactMore than 150 of the 787 businesses State Street Global Advisors lobbied over the past year now have at least one female board member, according to a statement emailed to CNBC.


The new video 'Be A Lady They Said'  starring Cynthia Nixon narrating a piece of writing from Camille Rainville is going viral on social media. The video highlights the daily pressures and unattainable expectations placed on women. 


The take away message?

The statistics used in this article show that International Women's Day is building momentum year-on-year and leading to positive change worldwide. More major brands are realizing the importance of IWD and seeking to gain good publicity from it.

Online stores can likewise garner positive attention from this event through relevant promotions and social media campaigns providing they take care not to detract from raising awareness to help forge a gender balanced world. 

Celebrate women's achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality!

For more insight, studies and analysis of e-commerce trends, you can sign up to our regular newsletter or head over to our blog.

WakeupData blog

Written by Ben Culpin

Topics:NewsWorld Ecommerce

About the WakeupData Blog

Our blog is dedicated to helping brands and retailers improve their ecommerce performance, automate their business processes, and grow internationally. 

Subscribe to Updates

Apply for a free trial


Get your questions answered and learn what WakeupData's product feed management platform can do for your business.