Monday, March 8th, 2021 marked International Women’s Day – a global day to celebrate and honour the achievements of women throughout history and across the world. Millions of people all over the world take part in this day – if so many people are honouring a day to empower women, doesn’t it only make sense that we celebrate it after March 8th has passed?
Now more than ever before, women must be celebrated and empowered every day of the year. We must also reflect on why this day is necessary at all. While there has been so much progress, women everywhere still face gender inequity and bias – sexual harassment, wage gaps, lack of women in leadership roles, women who are qualified yet unemployed, etc. Equality is an expectation, not something to be celebrated when it happens. We are grateful for everyone participating, but it’s time to make this a reality. The time to challenge these unjust norms is NOW.
Current Obstacles Women Around The World are Facing:
- Nationally, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $47,299 while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $57,456. This means that, overall, women in the United States are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $10,157.
- 99% of women working in the film and TV industries have experienced sexism
- A survey conducted by UN Women UK found 80% of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.
“Not All Men are Bad, but All Women Have Been Affected by Bad Men.”
The International Women’s Day theme for 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge. A theme asking us to reflect on our thoughts, our actions and ways we can empower each other to stand up for gender equality. The keyword here is EQUALITY. The “not all men are bad” narrative would suggest that one gender has to be wrong for the other to be right. The moment we pin one against the other, someone has to lose, and what some people fail to realize is that International Women’s Day is for men too. Men share the same obligation to deconstruct inequality and balance out masculinity with feminism. It’s not about women stereotyping men or making it a man’s problem, it’s about identifying and challenging the stereotypes that exist against women. Even though not all men are the same, the experiences of women who have been affected negatively by men cannot be invalidated or brushed aside. Instead, we must take the initiative to reflect, understand, and educate ourselves on the impact of these social injustices.
Ways You Can Advocate for Gender Equity:
- Promote gender equality in the workplace! Give equal opportunities, acknowledge the work all employees do, ask for participation from all members of the team
- Create a campaign! Honour #IWD by developing an initiative to raise awareness and make noise surrounding these injustices by curating a series of videos, posts, and statements to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable world.
- Donate! Donate to female-focused charities like IWHC to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls worldwide.
- Donate here: https://iwhc.org/internationalwomensday/
- Speak out against misogyny and harassment. Name it when you see men doing it.
- Educate yourself on the issues. Speak to women and ask them to share their stories.
By choosing to challenge, women’s leadership will be embraced and there will be more balance. People around the world will feel united, and with worldwide attention and recognition, we are one step closer to defeating gender bias. Do your part by encouraging those around you to #choosetochallenge.
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