Happy International Women’s Day!
I never had many girlfriends when I was younger. I have always been a very competitive person and we are conditioned from such a young age to view other women as a threat. I hung around with a big group of boys who, don’t get me wrong, were great friends to me; but I honestly don’t think anything compares to the relationships you have with your female friends.
I feel incredibly lucky to have made friends with so many strong, smart and brave women, all of whom influence who I am as a person. The relationships we have with our friends are equally as important as familial and romantic relationships, and my life wouldn’t feel so fulfilled if I didn’t have these wonderful ladies around me.
Women supporting other women is incredibly important and we need to fight against this idea that we are competition for each other, because together we are an incredible force. That’s why International Women’s Day is so important. Many people argue we don’t need this day, and that we have equal rights (some even say we have more rights than men). Let me tell you some reasons why that isn’t true:
⁃ There is still a gender pay gap no matter how much people try to deny it (and it’s not predicted to close until 2186)
⁃ 2 women a week are murdered by their current or ex partners in the UK
⁃ #MeToo; this needs no further explanation
⁃ Girls across the world are shamed for periods and in some cultures are banished from the house when menstruating
⁃ Child brides
⁃ Over 800 women die PREVENTABLE deaths in child birth every day worldwide
⁃ Around 62 million girls still don’t have access to education in many places across the world
⁃ Human trafficking disproportionately affects women and is on the rise
⁃ The constant battle of reporting sexual assault and instantly being accused of lying and having our sexual histories brought into play
⁃ The lack of and attempted withdrawal of reproductive rights worldwide
⁃ Women in the forces are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by an enemy
⁃ Women still aren’t allowed to drive in some countries
⁃ Women are more likely to be unemployed
⁃ Our health concerns are not taken as seriously by medical professionals (‘wait and see’)
⁃ Domestic violence is still legal in places
⁃ Women only make up around 30% of the House of Commons
⁃ Around a 5th of men actually admit that they don’t want gender equality
⁃ We are constantly shamed for how we dress, whether we do or don’t want children, our jobs, our weight etc etc etc
⁃ Honour killings
I could go on and on and on. The point is, we still absolutely need this day to highlight how much inequality still exists in our society, and I will continue to be vocal about it no matter how many people it offends. But this day isn’t just about women supporting women. It’s about men listening to us, understanding what role they play in this inequality and challenging these issues. We are all in this together – statistically our economy would be so much better if women were equal counterparts (just one of the many other ways in which our society would improve). Equality benefits everybody, so everybody should fight for it. The idea that feminism is anti-men is toxic and needs to stop.
And for anybody asking when International Men’s Day is, I suggest you take a look here to save further embarrassment…