Men and women take action to encourage gender parity

WORLDWIDE women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement.

And while we have much growth and development to celebrate today, progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity.

In 2015, they estimated a slowdown in the progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.

Australia ranked number 36 in gender parity from 145 countries - a step back for our country after having a ranking of 24 in 2014.

The area severely lacking in gender parity being political empowerment.

In fact, for every woman in Australian parliament - there are three men.

This means we have work to do.

This year's campaign for International Women's Day follows the hashtag #PledgeForParity - empowering men and women to pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly.

Whether it is 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.

Globally with individuals pledging to move from talk to purposeful action - and with men and women joining forces - we can help women advance equal to their numbers and realise the limitless potential they offer economies the world over.

You can make a pledge to improve the progress of gender parity on the International Women's Day website.

Today is the day we make a difference.