Contrary to my usual posts, I have decided to write something mildly serious, and not completely pointless. Why you ask, because today is the United Nations International Women’s Day…WAIT WAIT WAIT, don’t leave, please read this, I promise it will be worth it***.
So, as I was saying, it is International Women’s day and many people question the necessity of such a day, well I don’t. A few weeks ago I got a letter addressed to Mr and Mrs Hubby’s Name Only…again (I adore you my dear…but come on, I deserve a name). I am an adult, a respectable, smart, ridiculously funny woman, and when I got married, I did not agree to become an appendage of my husband, nor did my husband expect this of me either.
I understand that this is “tradition”, but so what? Some traditions are stupid. This is one of those.
Many people think there is no need to celebrate women, no need for us to have a day, to fight for our rights, or to advocate for continued initiatives to help women, well, that’s crap. It is still completely needed and shouldn’t be ignored.
Why you ask?
Well here are a few reasons (from my rich first world life, which I fully understand has all the advantages that so many people are still missing):
- My management chain all the way to the top are men. Capable men, but men all the same. At my level, in my field of view at work, we are pretty well equal, but up one more level and suddenly the ratio drops to about 10% female, up one more, and it drops further.
- On the radio station I listen to, they took requests for songs to celebrate women on Friday and all the respondents that I heard made requests for songs written by men, that mention women’s names. Seriously? Shouldn’t we maybe celebrate female artists and their achievements?
- My base salary remains less than my husbands. We work not only in the same field, but in the same company and hold the same position.
- Maternity leave is still seen as an issue for advancement. Seriously, in a 40 year career, is a few months off really that big of a deal? Nobody seems to think an extended sickness leave of a man should impact his career, why should a mat leave be different?
Okay, these may seem like things that should be considered the icing on the cake compared to what some women suffer, I get that, but again, so what? I still see a world that is not open to me, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t work to remove the walls, ceilings (glass or otherwise) and open doors that are in my way. Not only for myself, but for every other woman who is standing beside me. I know I am lippy, bold, in your face, and full of energy, why shouldn’t I take these gifts to move the world in a direction that just makes sense.
I think it is insanely important to not lose sight of these inequalities, because they are still there, and all the rules that govern our society and impact us from near infancy are defined primarily by men, ensuring that the inequalities will remain. We need more women at the top to challenge the status quo and help those that are in no position to help themselves.
To help the little girl on the playground who is called bossy for telling a boy what to do, when no one bats an eye when it is the other way around.
To help the woman who has followed her partner around the world for his career, raised their children, only to be left with very little when he decides to move on.
To help the woman in corporate America who sits alone in a meeting room full of men and is asked to pour the coffee and take notes.
To help the woman who stands up on stage, delivers a powerful speech and the only thing she hears when she is done is that her dress is lovely.
To help all women everywhere to be seen as people, to be seen for their personalities, their skills, their talents, and not just their gender.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a man hater, not even close. I don’t think men are out to get women, I don’t think most men even realise the thousands of little ways they are pushed forward while women are held back. They are small ways, they are almost imperceptible, it’s in the fairy tales we hear as children, it’s in all the language we hear around us every day, it’s in the way school programs are designed, it’s on the television, it’s in the toy stores, it’s literally everywhere. Small little reminders that girls should be quiet and calm and boys should be powerful and strong.
This mind set not only hurts the girls, but it’s not doing any favours for the boys either. Men are so poorly equipped to handle their emotions that they are suffering as well. Men are rarely taught to deal with their emotions or to even accept that they have them and this leads to so many completely different issues that impact us all. Alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, or violence of any kind are all the results of society not accepting men for the complex creatures that they are and giving them the tools to deal with their emotions.
This post is not just for my daughter and me, but for my husband and son as well. I want my husband to be able to say “I don’t work Wednesday afternoons; I look after my kids” without having some dillhole answering “Isn’t that your wife’s job?”. I want my son to be able to continue to take dance classes all his life if he so chooses without his masculinity being called into question.
I want my family to be good people, with equal opportunities, and lead long happy lives. I don’t think that is too much to ask.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.
***I hope it was worth the read, because it was definitely worth writing and if you feel it is a subject that is unimportant, well, it just goes to show how far we still are from a world where half the population is not left behind.