By Molly la Fosse
International Women’s Day was created in the early 20th century in order to bring global attention to the need for gender equality. 100 years later and we’re still not there – a global gender pay gap persists, and there is not an equal representation of women in business or politics. Studies show that standards in women’s health and education are far behind men’s. At this rate, the gender gap is not expected to close until 2186 -that’s 169 years away.
In case you need any convincing why gender equality is crucial :
Societies with more women in the labour market are more prosperous
Peace negotiations with more women at the table result in less conflict and fewer deaths.
Countries where women are empowered in various spheres of life are statistically less likely to be rife with crime and violence.
Just a bit of research into these areas reveals a clear truth – in circumstances where women are also empowered, everyone is better off. Yet here we are, and some people still manag to find it ludicrous to have one day in place which educates people about the fundamental need for gender equality.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Be Bold for Change’ – a sentiment that is especially relevant this year in wake of the impressive marches against injustice that occurred across the globe in the first two months of 2017. As shown by the brave humans that took part in those protests, sitting by idly and hoping for change is not going to cut it. Today and every day it is so important for people of all backgrounds, all genders and all ages to come together to strive for a better future with more freedom, respect and unity.
The argument that IWD is ‘sexist’ is frankly invalid – there’s an International Men’s Day too, on November 16th. Since men (especially white men) are celebrated every day and have been in a position of power and superiority for centuries, a nice day where we remind everyone about the harmful consequences of discrimination against women and how to stop it is entirely justified.
The point of celebrating females is definitely not to say that all men are evil and women should run the world. Writing this post is not me being a ‘feminazi’. Championing for better standards of equality for women is not solely the responsibility of those who choose to call themselves active feminists- it is everyone’s.
So today, March 8th 2017, take a moment to remember the women in history who have fought for a more united world, and remind those around you to keep up the good fight.
Even our microcosm of society here at Hurtwood can make a difference – in the words of Margaret Mead :
Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Here’s some ways to be a thoughtful, committed citizen and change the world :
(suggestions from https://www.internationalwomensday.com/BeBold)
CHALLENGE PEOPLE USING EXCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
POINT OUT BIAS AND SUGGEST ALTERNATIVES
EDUCATE YOUTH (younger sisters,brothers,cousins, etc) ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EQUALITY AND RESPECT, AND REMIND THEM OF THE IMPACT THEIR WORDS HAVE – stop using terms such as ‘man up’, ‘grow some balls’, ‘stop being a pussy.’
DONATE TO CHARITIES HELPING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, CHARITIES THAT CAMPAIGN AGAINST INEQUALITY, etc etc
SUPPORT WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES
RAISE RECOGNITION FOR POWERFUL FEMALES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT AMONGST YOUR PEERS
CALL OUT YOUR SEXIST FRIENDS ! EDUCATE THEM !
REINFORCE AND SUPPORT WOMEN’S TRIUMPHS
THANK AN IMPORTANT WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE FOR HOW THEY HAVE INFLUENCED YOU