I don’t need to wait until March 8th to thank, celebrate and honor the incredible women in my life and those who fought and are still fighting for what I have today. Everyday, everywhere I go, I enjoy something I couldn’t have had if it wasn’t for feminists, whether it is my right to work, vote, walk freely down the street and even the basic right to be recognised by law. It wasn’t that long ago that women fought, were criminalized and imprisoned for asking for those very things.
Everywhere I go, I am also reminded by how important it is that women’s rights, and all rights for that matter, should not be taken for granted. I find it very frustrating when people talk about equality or try to imply that feminism is no longer needed, after all an increasing number of women in North America, Europe and many other places in the world are attending universities, working, driving, voting, etc…
What we seem to fail to realise is that equality goes a lot further than that. Somehow we seem to disregard issues that are crucial to equality such as maternity rights, women’s reproductive rights and access to birth control, domestic abuse, rape, double shifts, glass ceiling, systematic sexism and the list goes on.
The issue at hand is systematic and people, be it women or men, are highly influenced by it. We live in a world that portrays a certain image of women that often remains unchallenged. I cannot clearly point at what’s at the root of the issue and I have no right to speak as to how other women should be living their lives.
What I do know, however, is that we are a long way away from equality. Women are often overworked, under-payed and their work is taken for granted. And for as long as this is the case, there is no equality. As long as women are discriminated against privately, domestically, publicly, systematically, at home, in the workplace, on the street, at the police station, in court or anywhere, there is no equality.
If you’re still wondering why we need feminism, I tell you:
Every woman is at risk of being sexually assaulted at her own door step, and it’s not because she provoked it (and it can be you, your mother, daughter or sister).
Sexist jokes are made on families’ dinner tables and for the record they are not funny.
When was the last time you met Mr. <Insert a female name here>; chances are you haven’t because well since when do men follow women?
Take a moment today to think about women around you whether it is your mother or the cleaning lady on your office’s floor and think about what your life would have been without them and decide to yourself whether or not there is equality.
Happy International Women’s Day!