top of page

I’ll say it: I HATE International Women’s Day. Here’s why.

I hate International Women’s Day. I hate the one-day-every-year that we are supposed to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come — and how far we’ve got to go for equality. Even worse to be told “happy” International Women’s Day. We are still not equal. How can I be happy about that?

All around the world, women and girls are still not able to fully participate in all aspects of social, economic, and political life. They have less choice and less voice — and are further burdened with the responsibility of rectifying this imbalance. Achieving equality is viewed as “women’s work”. As if we caused this mess in the first place.

Here’s the thing: Gender equality is both a human rights principle and a precondition for a safe, just, sustainable future. A future I’d like to see materialize. Like, now.

The reality is that no country in the world has achieved equality. Not a single one. No, not even Iceland.

At our current pace, we’ll need 99.5 years (precisely) to close the gender gap. Let’s just say 100 years. Will you be around to see that happen?!

So please, don’t “Happy International Women’s Day” me. Not yet.

In our world today, the majority of children who are out of school are girls. Child marriage is far too common, happening far too often — just about everywhere (yes, even in the US). Women’s unemployment is higher than men’s. Women do the majority of unpaid work — and when they do work — they earn far less than men — in every occupation. In positions of power and decision-making, inequality is most visible because women are rendered virtually invisible. What bothers me most is violence against women. 1 in 3 women and girls worldwide will experience some form of violence against women in their lifetime. One.In.Three.

The reality is that we’re likely going backwards. Here are 10 — of probably a bazillion — ways I know this to be true:

1. Rape continues to be used as a weapon of war: Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis is our latest example.

2. Sexual harassment is perpetrated by powerful men — with relative impunity. See NY Governor Andrew Cuomo for the latest case.

3. Women remain economically disempowered, with an ever-increasing share of the burden of unpaid care — 76 percent of total hours of unpaid care work worldwide, to be precise. And COVID has only made this worse.

4. Sexual slavery is happening. See Yemen — the world’s forgotten emergency.

5. Honor killings still exist (even the term makes me sick).

6. The wage gap is real — with women earning 77 cents to every man’s dollar.

7. 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime — verbal or physical.

8. Power and decision-making remain in the hands of men, who still hold ¾ of the world’s parliamentary seats and management positions.

9. Women are 13 percent of peace negotiators and 4 per cent of peace signatories — even as we know that there is no peace without women.

10. Gender gaps are getting bigger. For instance, the Arab region has a 40% gap — the world’s largest.

So I can not — WILL not — say “happy” International Women’s Day when we fight day after day and year after year for the same rights and respect that we should have always had, when women are still restricted in every aspect of our lives, when we are denied choice over our own bodies, when women cannot be safe in public or private space, when women still experience violence and discrimination, when the justice system fails women, when our voices are ignored or denied, when women in senior positions are still the exception and the “first” — rather than the norm. Should I go on?

Read the rest HERE.

#GenderEquality #GenderbasedViolence #InternationalWomensDay #WomensRights

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page