Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

Today is International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women in the past, present and future. 2012 marks the 101st anniversary of IWD – and it is both wonderful and heartbreaking that the occasion has been marked for so long.

International Women's Day

Why wonderful? The history of IWD allows us the luxury of looking back at and being inspired by the women who have gone before us. Women like Emmeline Pankhurst and Susan B. Anthony who campaigned for women’s rights and suffrage.

Why heartbreaking? Because even after over one hundred years of discussing these issues, there is still so far to go.

The distance we still have to travel is vast for so many reasons. I am lucky to have been born in the time and place that I was; I had access to education, health care and good nutrition. Many millions of women in the world don’t have that luxury, and that needs to change. 

But even in environments like Australia, Europe or the United States where, in theory at least, women have the same rights to access health care and education as men, we have a long way to go. Millions of women are not safe in their own homes thanks to domestic abuse and violence. When a woman reports a sexual assualt or rape to the police, it can be a lottery as to whether her case is treated with the respect and sensitivity it deserves.

Then we have the constant media commentary that seems determined to undermine a woman not matter what she does. She either has too many children or not enough. She either works too hard and earns too much, or she decides to work in a female dominated industry and then dares to ask for more money. She’s either dressing down and not making the most of herself, or she’s asking for it.

We can’t win. And sometimes our worst critics are actually other women.

So what can we do? As always, I believe change starts with ourselves. Yes, lots can be done at a political level in both developed and developing countries. But even more can be done through shifting our own views and attitudes.

Start within yourself. Challenge your own assumptions and prejudices. Are you always fair to your fellow women? Or do you judge them for their life choices and condemn them as selfish/stupid/unworthy?

Be honest.

Today, take the time to really think about how wonderful the women in your life are.

And then, tomorrow, do it again.

Awesome stuff for the super-keen:

I love this article by Annie Lennox, published for last year’s IWD.

Here are 21 inspiring women. Why not make your own list of female inspiration?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: