Like most women, I am at the end of a very long working day. It is not the fact that International Women’s Day escaped me but that I have had little time to speak or write about it.
Last year I did reflect on the day further in a blog post realizing that in other countries there is more celebration in the streets for such a day; North Americans just don’t embrace it to the same degree as other nations. Did you know that elsewhere women receive gifts from partners, recognition from work and government, a tip of the hat that acknowledges battles won, what’s still needed and the good work women do every day? There were some sound bites here and there but really the day, from my perspective, made only a small ripple in the grand scheme of things.
Now, as you know by this blog, my website and column I am women centric. Proud to share the news of women, I take a hard look at their contributions, fight for their rights and freedoms and above all else share the “herstory” with others.
There have been a lot of gains that propelled us forward through each generation but I’m beginning to question whether we are experiencing some stagnation or slippage.
* Women still making less wages
* Women still fighting for their rights to make decisions about their own health
* Women still victims of violence; with sentencing that never fits the horrific crimes perpetrated
* Women still not breaking through that glass ceiling (look at some of the latest stats if you don’t believe me)
* Women still doing the bulk of the work in the home and that’s after they finished the full time or part time job outside of it
* Women still holding the bulk of the responsibilities for child rearing and now aging parent support
* Women still under-represented in the political world for reasons that are both personal and system driven
* Women still being exploited and trafficked for sex – solely for the multi-billion dollar businesses directed at the predominantly male consumer
* Women still not being recognized for their contributions in business (awards/incentives) as much as their male counterparts
* Women still more apt to be living in poverty worldwide despite the work they do (because it is largely unpaid labour)
Do I sound pessimistic? Maybe, I could not be so gloomy and look at the silver lining again…we like silver linings they are far more palatable. If even half of what I said is reality then I say lets call it like it is.
Last year I celebrated the day and I still do, but not like a birthday or Christmas or any other warm fuzzy day. I celebrate it in the pure recognition that generations ago a woman got up out of her chair and said “enough is enough!” “I have a voice! I want the right to express my opinion! I want my vote! I want to make my own decisions! I want to earn money! I want an education! I want to save for my future! I want choice! I WANT TO BE CLASSIFIED AS A PERSON!”
She was so brave, she didn’t sit back and watch anymore. She didn’t hope that someone else would do it for her. She didn’t wait till “they” would come around to see her side. She got up and risked it all and sometimes paid dearly. She paid attention to the news around her, she saw the injustices and felt them deeply, she went out of her comfort zone and looked within for strength to speak her speak.
Guess what? Right now there is a woman somewhere in this world who is doing just that. She doesn’t have even half of what we have and she has a lot to lose. It may very well be her life on the line…so our job is not done ladies…no it is not.
Celebrate being a woman, celebrate our gains but acknowledge things are and can change if you are not watching. What seems like a solid foundation can crumble if you don’t do anything to maintain it. To honor women past and present, learn about one woman in this world and what her contribution was and share it with your daughters and your sons. Be informed and inform others.