What does International Women’s Day mean to me? to you?
For me International Women’s Day means celebrating our successes as Women in overcoming challenges of which we inherited, simply because we were Women. It means taking the time to reflect on where we were 100 years ago and where we are now and giving credit where it is due, much like we do for our incredible soldiers who fought for our freedoms. Now before any men get their knickers in a twist, please read forward to see why today isn’t a day that we need to hear comments such as ‘what about International mens day’.
There is NO arguing that being born a girl, no matter where you are (yes, look at statistics, asks your female friends) means clearing a lot of hurdles, which begins at the starting line. I, myself, who I consider to be privileged to live in such a country where I have access to so many incredible things such as education, have experienced discrimination and disrespect, many of this simply for being a Women. These challenges are not knew to me, and they certainly are not knew to many other women across the world, who sadly do not hold the same privileges as me. The reality of why many others do not share said privileges and the same opportunities are quite plainly and simply because they are GIRLS and WOMEN. Please watch the video below for further explanation of this. Imagine the fight, many women and girls, developed or developing countries go to everyday to have their voices heard, their dreams worked towards and their safety and human rights secured. Even us lucky ones can never stop fighting for equal pay, equal opportunity and equal rights, being born a girl means clearing many hurdles and challenges.
We need to stop treating gender inequality as a topic for debate when its quite clear, cut and dry. We need to stop being naive to the fact that for MANY, gender inequality means life and death.
In the past, women did not have the same opportunities; in education, in careers, politics, being working mums, and voting – something many of us are lucky enough to have thanks to the hard work of women from our past. Here’s some examples of how far we’ve come: In the 1800’s, women were denied access to universities and medical school, now, there are more female graduates then Men in several recent classes, today there are more female lawyers and doctors then Men, and in 1972, 96% of men owned businesses in the U.S, were as today one in three are owned by women. As Women, we have accomplished more then some could have ever dreamed and this is something truly to celebrate. Pioneering women began a worldwide movement in achieving equal rights, and its thanks to these women, there dedication and efforts, that many of us have this.
We have come a long way. But, many Women and Girls are still stuck in old ways that are generating inequality in its worst forms. In ways that are creating, child marriages, spreading HIV and other diseases, and denying women and children an education – a platform for better opportunities. All which generate intergenerational poverty and violence. This is not our first struggle and our first victory. Women have been fighting for equality for decades on decades. So why is it something we STILL have to fight for? We come together in fields, factories, villages, supermarkets, living rooms and board rooms – we share a common future and are here to find common ground so we can bring new dignity and respect to women and girls ALL OVER the world.
Today, we celebrate the women on who’s shoulders we stand. We are not waiting for permission no longer, we know now we have our own voices and many of us on this side of the table, yes us westerners, are lucky enough to have that voice and platform to share it on – so it is our shared responsibility to share this voice and continue to help those who are not so privileged enough to have the said opportunities.
We need to stop treating gender inequality as a topic for debate when its quite clear, cut and dry. We need to stop being naive to the fact that for MANY, gender inequality means life and death. We need to make sure everybody, Men AND Women, have seats at the table. Today is a reminder of not just how far we’ve come, but for how far we still have to go.
SO, It’s time to listen and act, to proactively champion for the many remarkable women in our past and future. So here’s to the many activists and pioneer Women who changed the lives of so many around the world, who gave me the many opportunities and platform I and many other women around me now have. But heres also to the many women of the now and the future that will help generate this change for many more around the world. There’s still a lot of work to do, so lets get to work. Let today be a reminder of exactly all of this, but lets make every other day a reminder for this too, because our struggle for Women’s rights cannot be a one day fight.
The time for pretending we don’t know whats going on is over, and the time is now for equal rights for women, equal pay, and respect for women. WORLDWIDE.
Remember, when we know better, we can DO better.
Check out the video below for more incredible perspective ! Happy International Women’ day.