Tag Archives: international women’s day

Is Equality Possible?

As International Women’s Day came and went I found myself uninspired to write about what makes this day so special. My celebration of women and interest in their history has been tempered of late by multiple examples of our stagnation or regression.

The gains and disadvantages my gender can point to can be qualified by an understanding of where we live. If I were to ask  women in developing countries how much work they were doing, how much they were getting paid and how much they personally own in comparison to men, they would probably offer a vastly different perspective than my own. If I analyzed safety, abuse and exploitation I would see again a vast difference between women worldwide not to mention between the sexes. Simply put there are plenty of stats and stories to highlight inequality.

Recently the press released a story about  a sexist note that was found on a WestJet plane’s seat. The writer complained about the plane being piloted by a woman. The fact that anyone holds those views in 2014 shows women continue to be considered, either openly or secretly, unworthy of certain personal or professional status. Even evoking the words equality or inequality conjures up for many people images of some loud, angry  woman making her point or protest marches by feminists. It can even prompt a huge sigh followed by frustration that equality is even being discussed. Compassion, humanity or civility should be recognized as part of the roots belonging to equality not the negative definition it so often receives.

The unique differences that exist between women and men could be celebrated but for the most part they are pointed out in such grotesque ways. A person needs only to watch TV or movies to see many examples of how one-dimensional a gender can be and how that limits any valuable dialogue or portrayal. In everyday life person to person conversations and anonymous comments on websites strengthen the divide.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate International Women’s Day. I truly believe we should celebrate and bring to the forefront the history, sacrifices and contributions of women everywhere! (and acknowledge their supporters) BUT Do we do so believing that equality will be achieved? or Are we content to know this is a movement without a defined end?

Here are a couple more points I want to make:

1. Equality cannot be confused with robbing Peter to pay Patty. We have to keep in  mind that women’s ascent in society is of benefit to all. This is not a competition between genders and it is time we stopped nurturing that attitude. We are not taking but rather giving to each other a gift that guarantees prosperity.

2. What I fear most is that some of the push-back we saw in the past towards women’s advancement is resurfacing even stronger. There is an under-current of judgement and even hatred that exists that if not properly addressed may come back to hurt women now and in the future.

Maybe we need to change the language we use in order to negotiate a better path forward while still honoring and celebrating our past.

International Women’s Day 2013

To acknowledge this very special day I would like to provide some links to valuable organizations who support women in Canada, US and the World!

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

~ Anne Frank ~

White Ribbon Campaign ~ “White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”

Miss Representation ~ “MissRepresentation.org believes that all people should be equally represented in our media, that our voices should be heard and that we should all be valued for our talents, capacity as leaders, and ability to contribute to the world at large.”

Canadian Women’s Foundation ~ “We invest in the power of women and the dreams of girls. The Canadian Women’s Foundation raises money to research, fund and share the best approaches to ending violence against women, moving low-income women out of poverty and building strong, resilient girls.”

World Health Organization ~ “WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.”

Women’s Sports Foundation ~ “Founded in 1974 by tennis legend, Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.”

Canadian Women in Science & Technology ~ “SCWIST, a non-profit association that promotes, encourages and empowers women and girls in science, engineering and technology.”

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day! Around the globe millions of women are recognized and honored. If there was ever a day that truly was worth celebrating, it is this one. For me it is right up there with Veterans day, where we are called to remember the men and women who sacrificed and served to protect freedom.

On March 19, 1911 men and women gathered at various events to mark this special day; they campaigned to address issues like women’s right to work, vote, and be trained, to hold public office and to end discrimination. Prior to and since 1911 millions of women and men rallied to recognize women’s contributions to society and to protect their rights as citizens of this world. Today, in approximately fifteen countries it is an official holiday; traditionally men bestow gifts and flowers to their mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, or colleagues.

Though many of us lead a relatively free and protected life, alas many others do not. Every year there are women around this world that die for their beliefs, fighting for their right to be educated, to control their own bodies, to be considered person’s under the law.  Women are in the cross fire of conflict and trafficked, female infanticide is still practiced and young women undergo custom imposed mutilation. If we were to add up all the women that die around this world every year for any of these reason, it would be in the millions.

All of the women today and throughout history that voiced their unpopular opinions and marched on our behalf should be held up high by our praise.  It has long been my opinion that we don’t honor these women enough, instead many take for granted all that was afforded to us through their efforts. We matter because they made it so!

Many of us can work in any profession we choose, receive an education, have the option to have children or not, and in some countries enjoy paid maternity and parental leave. We can aspire and obtain positions in public office, wear what we please and think what we think without retribution.  This, my friends, is due to the women of the world that dared! Men, women and essentially families are reaping the fruits of their labour.

I’m proud to be a woman, but I believe more work could be done to show us greater respect and esteem. I’m proud to call myself a feminist… yes, I am saying the “F Word”. The definition of feminist is “a woman or man who believes in the full social, economic, political equality of women and men.” Keep that in mind when you enjoy any of the aforementioned ideals in your personal life.

To the women that spoke and fought on our behalf, I salute you. To the women who have endured and broke free from violence, neglect, or exploitation, I salute you. To the mothers that bring us life and those that nurture their children despite daily hardships, I salute you. To the women whose unpopular voice was mocked or silenced, I salute you. To the women and men who celebrate this day, I salute you. To the women in my life, I salute you!