Thursday was the 8th March and a significant day for women, personally and globally. Of course, it was International Women’s Day.
From 1909 to now, women have celebrated the power of female unity and specific female figures: their friends, their family and most importantly, themselves, on this day. Thursday was no exception, although I do wish that more had been done to celebrate on a national scale. India, Kenya and China were among the countries holding demonstrations and events, whilst the UK seemed a little less ‘bothered’, shall we say.
I actually woke up on Thursday morning to receive a message from one of my male friends, who was asking why there wasn’t an International Men’s Day every year. Yep, you read that right. Now, I’m not sure if this boy is living in a hole with no access to BBC News but last time I checked, it was just a tidgy bit harder for women in the world in comparison to men. You know… Lower wages, unequal opportunities when it comes to education and having particular or leading job positions, control by men- sometimes who they have been forced to marry, female genital mutilation and a higher likelihood of being sexually abused (and NOT because of what they’re wearing!) are just a number of inequalities that women have to face. Every. Single. Day.
For me, International Women’s Day was a reflective affair. I thought about the females that I look up to and the ways that I can help to create a better world for girls and women.
I thought about my female role models, who include:
- Theresa May– believe me, I don’t agree with everything she says but a woman showing that she can determinedly lead the UK, particularly through such a big change like Brexit, just like any other man? Now, that is something I can commend.
- Meghan Markle– I’m so excited for this woman to become part of the royal family on the 19th May. Not only is she a refreshing addition to a very traditional, British family but she is an advocate for multiple causes, due to her time as a Global Ambassador for the world’s largest children’s charity: World Vision, and she has said that she will continue working against gender inequality issues and working to help women become more empowered.
- Malala Yousafzai– I think it is actually impossible to measure the bravery of this 20 year old Pakistani. She was shot in the head by the people who didn’t want her to campaign against girls not having an education, yet she came back stronger. She has continued to be an activist for female education and consequently became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
I thought about the differences I can make and I pledge to:
- Stand up against sexism when I see it and call people out, like my Mr Stig of the Dump over there (for any of you that don’t know, Stig Of The Dump is a children’s novel in which a young boy finds a caveman called, you guessed it, Stig who is inhabiting a hole in the ground.) Basically, Stig doesn’t know about modern life and my friend is certainly the same. So sorry that it took a nostalgic reference to my childhood reading to make that point.
- Join the movement, like really join the movement (not just write angry feminist blog posts every now and then). I want to contribute to social media movements, like #TimesUp, plus I want to demonstrate in person with all the other women who have the same beliefs as me because if you can’t get attention from social media, you definitely can from protests.
- Change my thinking. This sounds extreme but the connotations of a lot of words are very sexist. Take jobs for example. “Engineer” and “plumber” both have masculine connotations, whilst “nurse” is most often associated with females. This needs to change. Women can be engineers, women can be plumbers and men can be nurses- it’s just fact.
I know that pledges from me aren’t going to stop men from being a bit further ahead in education, the workplace, sexual rights and general control over society, yet if people from all over the world pledge to do something to support women, however big or small, the world will change quicker. We will see more social media movements, we will see laws changing and everyone will finally know that time’s up.
Something else while we’re on the topic…
An article that I loved reading on this topic was Is 2018 FINALLY a good time to be a woman?, written by Marie-Claire Chappet for UK Glamour Magazine online. Whilst it discusses what progress women have brought about and experienced in the last year, it also looks at the areas where improvements are still needed. As this piece illustrates, the fight definitely isn’t over.