International Women’s Day 2014
Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), recognized in.. well, I suppose not all places, but enough to make it “International”. But just because it’s not recognized everywhere doesn’t mean that the issues highlighted by IWD aren’t universal. Today’s Google Doodle does a pretty nice job in showing us a wide range of women, it’s heartening. It helps remind me that though I am in a privileged position as a white cis-het female, there are dozens and hundreds of women for each person like me who are not fortunate. Who face daily struggles, who don’t have the rights and safety I do. Or women just like me who are told they should be raped for having an opinion on something that doesn’t align with the male perspective; women like me who are shot down in their homes and in their circles of friends and in their workplaces for who they are. Women everywhere face this daily and more.
This year’s IWD theme is Inspiring Change. Change still needs to happen. Change can happen with your help. From their site: “Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for our internationalwomensday.com global hub and encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.”
As women, trans-women, trans-men, men, children, elderly… all of us can afford to take the time each day to try and counter the shitty stuff that happens in the world. Educate everyone about violence towards women and we’ll all be better for it. Educate children to grow up into a world where biases are lessening and we’ll all be better off for it. Bring equality to rights for all people, and we’ll all be better for it – women deserve to have a say over their lives and bodies, rather than being told what to do. Act with kindness every day to everyone in your life, women or not, and we’ll all be better for it. It goes on. There is such a thing as IWD because women have long been systemically held back/attacked/made out to be lesser people. Make every day IWD and this will change.
I’m proud to be able to recognize my privilege, to speak out as a feminist about many things that encroach on women’s rights as human rights. I am happy to try my best to be an agent of change and work towards a time (that I recognize might not be in my lifetime) where women have equality and rights and do not fear systemic and institutionalized violence or other kinds of abuse.
If you are about to say something like “well, I’m a women and things aren’t so bad for me” or “why isn’t there an International Men’s Day” or something along these lines, stop it. Stop talking and start thinking about the implications of how narrowly you are looking at the world and how harmful that can be when an open mind and change is needed.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.