10 Reasons why we need International Women’s Day
Women hold up half the sky … if this be the case, why do they need a day devoted to them?
This Sunday, March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day. And yes, I know what you are thinking: ‘always a day or a week to raise awareness for something’. The Chinese say that women hold up half the sky, and if this is the case, then surely we do not need to devote a whole day to thinking about their issues? We do have other days, like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, specific health days…what is the benefit having one day to focus on the issues which affect fifty percent of the planet?
10 Reasons why we need to have International Women’s Day
- What about the men? As you can see from the graph above, it is ironically around International Women’s Day when there are the most searches on Google for International Men’s Day. You won’t let us have that one day…
- More women as CEOs in America’s top companies! The figure is 20, and the percentage is 4. There has also been an increase of women in political power, yet there are currently only 20 heads of state who are female. It is an improvement yet it is still only around 10%. I won’t break out the bubbly just yet…
- Hermione Granger has to invite men at the UN to support the pursuit of gender equality in the #HeforShe campaign.
- Mónica Oriol, mother of six and one of Spain’s leading business women, argued in front of business leaders from Latin America and Spain that she would avoid hiring women of childbearing age, specifically 25-45. Thanks for the support, Monica.
- The most widely read book in the past few years, and read mainly by women, is about a violent sociopath who uses violence towards women. Kinky, right?
- Beginning to feel a little short changed? You should: despite Equal Pay being introduced in 1970 in the UK, women earn 15.7% less than their male counterparts. This means there is still a pay difference between men and women of more than £5,000 per year.
- One of the top human rights lawyers in the world: advising the UN on Syria; advocating free speech by representing one of the imprisoned journalists in Egypt; investigating violations against human rights in Gaza…is commonly referred to as belonging to her husband: George Clooney’s wife. Introducing Amal Clooney, everybody.
- ‘A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy’ was the comment from one of the rapists involved in the Indian medical student’s rape and subsequent death. This comment is not out of place in one of the largest countries in the world where a rape occurs every 20 minutes. The rest of the world is shocked by the baseness of such a comment yet it is a sentiment which lurks in our culture. High-profile legal professionals continue to suggest that convictions won’t stand until ‘women stop getting so drunk.’ It’s no wonder that women are so unwilling to report the crimes committed against them. Don’t have that extra glass of wine, it will be your fault if you get raped…not the rapist’s.
- Women are not allowed to walk around without a male chaperone in Saudi Arabia. They are also forbidden from voting, swimming, driving, competing in sports and trying on clothes when shopping. Yet Europe and the US continue to have a fairly cosy relationship with them.
- More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East. That is 125 million women who cannot receive sexual pleasure; may have infections and diseases as a result of FGM; difficulties in childbirth and in general throughout their life. This procedure has no medical benefit.
It is 2015, and women’s rights have improved dramatically around the world. This has not been easy. It has happened as a result of campaigning, protesting and fighting for rights. Yet gender inequality remains a problem, in developing countries as well as the developed world. We need this day, not merely for all of the above reasons, but more so in order to provide a better future for our daughters, in the same way our mothers have done for us.