To all of the strong, inspiring women in my life- thank you. You inspire me every day with your tenacity, your beauty, your creativity and generosity. I really do believe I have the best job in the world, and it’s because of you.
I started out writing today intending to write you cheery well-wishes for a happy International Women’s Day. But let’s be real. This day is not a celebration, with what’s going on in the world. It’s a battle cry, and I could not ask for a more powerful group of warriors.
We Will Not Go Gently
This year we have seen women’s rights take some terrible blows. What that means is that more than ever, we need to stand with our sisters; especially those who are further marginalised by ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. We can’t afford to be complacent.
As a young woman I didn’t call myself a feminist. I thought it sounded “combative,” and I had never experienced gender-based discrimination (that I noticed), so surely the fight had mostly been fought? Now I know how incredibly privileged that opinion was, and how wrong. The pay gap is real. Sexual violence is a risk all women must protect against. Many of my female friends have received horrific online threats; it’s expected in their line of work, and they compare war stories and online block lists. Our culture has normalised uncountable unhealthy attitudes towards women.
It has to stop.
The definition of feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” (Merriam-Webster) More than ever, in this time where we all feel deep in our bones that this fight must surely already be won, that it is absurd to still be having this conversation, we must all be feminists. Because this backwards slide of women’s rights is not just a tragedy; it is an opportunity. A chance to show the world that this battle hasn’t been won. Proof positive that we need to act. An opportunity to expose the ugly underbelly of inequality to the world and take a stand, united by our horror and disgust, against it.
We can still win this thing.
Ways to take action:
Stand up for your rights. Don’t accept poor treatment. Demand equal pay. If you need help with any of those things, ask for it.
Wear red to support the women’s strikes happening across the world.
Use the power of social media, today and every day, to advance women’s rights and spread important messages, and to share stories of strong, successful girls and women.
Defend each other. It’s a crazy world out there, but together we can make it safer. Watch out for each other and stand together against harassment.
Places to donate:
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund – A Canadian organisation championing women’s equality in the legal system in Canada
The Global Fund for Women– Fighting for women’s right internationally to the human rights enshrined by the United Nations
Plan Canada- Because I’m a Girl – A global initiative working to end gender inequality and promote girls’ rights
We are stronger together. Never forget it.