On March 8th the world celebrated women, commemorating the movement for women’s rights. The United Nations celebrates women with a theme. This year the UN theme is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” A message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that women’s rights today are being “reduced, restricted and reversed.” As the economic gender gap continues to widen, Guterres calls for change by “empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.” The sixty-first meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women began today and will run through March 24th at the United Nations.
Outside of the UN, the theme heard for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change.”
I am sure you read about or maybe even participated in “A Day Without A Woman” last week. Many of the women who participated were part of the Women’s March on January 21st, the day after President Trump’s inauguration.
Not just here in the U.S. but throughout the world women took to the streets to stand in unison on International Women’s Day. They all have one thing in common and that is a sense of urgency surrounding women’s issues and rights. Each country surely has its unique set of circumstances but there is commonality among all the women when it comes to equity and the human rights of women.
The day is also designed to encourage reflection on the progress women have made throughout the years . It is important to have knowledge about the history of the women’s movement. If you have a clear understanding of the history of women’s struggles for equality then you can better understand the uncertainty and fear that many women have today.
I have actually heard women say that a protest for equality is ridiculous. I heard that exact remark while sitting in a restaurant recently. Two women were sitting at the next table next to me. They were about my age. They looked fairly well to do. I made the assumption they were educated. So what was it that was making them react negatively to the recent organized protests? I did not lean over, introduce myself and ask. Instead I remained in my seat with my salad and I am not totally ashamed to say I continued to listen to them.
The dominant one did most of the talking and in a voice that made it easy for me and other patrons to hear. The thrust of her conversation was around abortion and the need to abolish it. I think her friend may have disagreed a little but was overshadowed and only made a few protest noises while trying to change the subject. The subject eventually changed to equal pay and the less dominate woman became more animated and offered her opinion as to why women should not necessarily get paid the same as men for the same job. Her reasoning did not make sense to me but I tried to see it from her perspective and just appreciate our difference of opinions.
There is so much more to it than just the discussions surrounding abortion rights or equal pay. I sometimes think people tend to compartmentalize one issue that resonates with them without fully vetting the wholeness of the situation. Maybe it is human nature to do it that way, I don’t know. That said, to all the women of the world, my wish for you is that you live in peace and be valued every day for all that you offer.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”- Audre Lorde
Off the bookshelf:
The Women’s Liberation Movement in America, by Kathleen Berkeley
Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof
When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan
We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Call to Action, by Jimmy Carter
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman, by Lisa Shannon
Peace and Love,