Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate being female, to promote the rights of women all over the world and to rise up as one and make our voices heard in a world that is still unbalanced in terms of equality. There is, in fact, an International Men’s Day (November 19th), but the main focus for the chaps is on men’s health, improving gender relations and highlighting positive male role models. There is also a mention of ‘promoting gender equality’, but whereas the men can ‘promote’, we women have to ‘fight’. But do we really need a day dedicated to women?
Sadly, even in 2017, yes, we do. Although so much progress has been made over the years, there is still a huge gap between men and women all over the world. In the UK we have a female Prime Minister, a female Scottish First Minister, and a woman has just taken on the role of head of the Metropolitan Police at Scotland Yard. And yet, just one sixth of top jobs in top UK companies are held by women. Whilst women are making huge strides politically in particular, the rest of us are being left behind, often working minimum-wage jobs whilst juggling childcare, running a home, raising children and generally doing it all. Even those women in higher paid roles still face discrimination and inequality from male bosses, with unequal pay and conditions, the worry of what will happen to their career if they have a family and, often, a constant need to ‘prove’ themselves.
For many women and in many countries, it’s Men’s Day every day and it seems change is a long way off.
So today I am standing proud with my sisters, joined in unity to fight for the rights of not only our own generation, but those of our daughters and granddaughters. Apparently, the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. That’s almost 170 years! We can’t wait that long for parity, surely? Let’s celebrate women today in the hope that, long before 2186, we won’t need a specific day to do it any more; every day should be a celebration of humanity, whether male, female, gender-fluid or genderless.