Today is the day when we celebrate all women and girls, our successes and strengths, but also point out the things we wish to change in the future. A society is only as strong as its weakest members, and unfortunately that means girls and women. When women are educated and given equal rights in a society everyone benefits; I firmly believe that.
Yet this day has become like a platitude sometimes – we see women receive flowers, some words are spoken about working women and members of parliament – yet nothing seems to change. In fact, the position of women has never seemed so precarious; the global economic crisis has put pressure on women in particular, and more women face a slow slide into poverty and unemployment. Yes, there are movements all around the world protesting the abuse of women, but physical abuse is not the only thing threatening the lives of so many sisters around the world – it is also poor education, forced marriages and restrictive social norms, harsh or abusive working conditions, no agency over their bodies, and overall atmosphere of closed doors and career paths. So many of us are caught in the idea of what a woman is supposed to be like, look like, talk or behave, that we often falter on our road to knowing ourselves, our desires and strengths. Too many times we bow down to pressure and silence our own voices.
Therefore, I found it very irritating that most of the news focused on the custom of receiving flowers, on typical ‘women’ professions (kinder garden teachers…), and on what men think of the day. In fact, it was men talking about the day or the things they do at home that irritated me to no end – why is it natural to expect of women to clean the house but when men do it it’s suddenly newsworthy? What is wrong with men doing some chores and liking it? And the tone! Sweet Mother Nature – they were treated like some subspecies of men. Even if that was supposed to be a joke, it was in poor taste.
This is our day – the one day dedicated to us; the brilliant scientists and rulers, the often overlooked helpers, the numerous young women, mothers, wives, sisters, girlfriends, friends and partners who support their families and friends, or just women who are independently walking their road of life. It doesn’t matter if we are educated or not, if we are from Europe or Africa; this day belongs to all of us – women.
This day is here to give us a helping hand in changing the world. We only wish to point out that we are your equals, that we are competent and strong, and that we (as you) don’t deserve abuse or discrimination. We want equal pay, equal job and education opportunities, we wish to be free to become who we were meant to become – it may be a doctor, a writer, an astronaut or simply a mom… imagination is the limit. What harm could that bring that some still preach fire and brimstone if we don’t choose to become housewives or mothers? We never said anything to demand the men to become subordinate – no. We, who have tasted the bitter taste of captivity and discrimination, don’t wish to inflict the same experiences upon others. We want to walk next to you, next to the people of this world, and be happy. That is all.
Happy Women’s Day to You too. 😀