As the theme of my blog is very #GirlBoss orientated, I couldn’t let International Women’s Day go by without talking about it. After all, women are the future.
I was contemplating writing a post about the Northern Ireland Assembly election that took place last week, but I think if I was to start writing, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Plus it is quite a fragile topic, with the possibility for major bias. I’ll perhaps wait until we know whether we will have a government before I start ranting and raving. The crocodile can stay where it is for the time being.
International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th every year, and before the men start kicking off, there is also an International Men’s Day on November 19th.
IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, Gloria Steinem says that, “the story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
This year’s IWD campaign is #BeBoldForChange. It empowers women to challenge what they think is wrong.
Challenge bias and inequality by pointing out bias and pulling people up on exclusive language.
Campaign against violence by speaking out about the silence of violence, educate friends and family about positive relationships.
Forge women’s advancement by buying from companies that support women or businesses owned or led by women. Be a positive influence to the younger girls that look up to you, mentor them and make sure they know that they can be whoever they want to be.
Celebrate women’s achievement by raising women’s visibility as spokespeople in the media, hail the success of women leaders and celebrate women’s journeys and the barriers they have overcome to get to where they are.
Champion women’s education by encouraging girls into STEM education and careers, celebrate women researchers discovering new knowledge and admire the women going for jobs that seem to be male orientated who are paving the way for other girls to follow them.
The future is female
With more women in politics than ever before*, more women in higher business positions, more women talking about feminism and more women standing up for their rights, we as women must unite and celebrate the achievements of the women before us who have got us to this point.
*The recent Northern Ireland Assembly election saw a rise in women winning seats in Stormont with the two biggest parties, Sinn Fein and the DUP, both being led by women. For the first time ever, there is a greater representation of women at Stormont than the House of Commons.
With more women standing for the cause and speaking out about equality, we are still not paid equally to their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and on a global scale, women’s education, health and violence against them is worse than that of men.
But we have come a long way and with every year things are improving. We now have female astronauts and prime ministers and many women in CEO positions. As women we can avail of higher education, we can both work and have a family, we can live our lives as we choose.
Is gender parity possible?
But this is only the story for a select number of countries. We are a long way from equality in minority countries and we must not take for granted the opportunities that we have and the rights that we have, thanks to the women before us who fought for those rights.
Ernst & Young predict we will have gender parity in 170 years.
The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. If we all come together, both men and women and fight for gender parity, we can help end inequality sooner.
Last week a video emerged of Polish politician and member of the European Parliament, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, speaking about the gender pay gap. This is a direct quote of what he said:
“Women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent.”
A comment like this, made in 2017(!!!!!!) makes it seem that gender parity shouldn’t be predicted to happen for another 270 years. But it is bitter men like this who live in the past and see women as only house ornaments and just there to do the cooking and cleaning who need to wake up and see that women are coming and women are taking over.
Feminism is a movement, not a phase.