No, it isn’t a lifestyle magazine in this case filled with fitness, recipes, etc. March 8 is International Women’s Day.
International Women‘s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. International Women‘s Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the 20th century in North America and across Europe.
Gender equality has always seemed to be a lightning rod of political agendas, and this year, like many others, it’s gotten more so. The terms “feminism” and “feminist” have gotten so charged they inspire eye rolls and dismissals on the con side and roars of passion and anger on the pro side.
Female equality doesn’t have to pick a side. The whole point is we are all on the same side.
We all have much to give. We all have our problems, our weaknesses, our beauty, our gifts, our failures and our successes. Equality doesn’t mean we are identical. It means we are equally valuable and equally deserving of respect, salary and dignity.
Among the eye-rollers are those who feel it’s enough already. Women earned the right to vote. It’s 2017. Women are equal. We get it.
It’s nearly a century since women were granted the right to vote. In our day-to-day lives, and in our personal interactions, of course we see each other as individuals. But the large problem remains. Just last month — February 2017 — a vice chairman, James Green, of a Utah city Republican Town Committee argued that women getting equal pay would threaten home stability and take pay and jobs from men.
Having more women in the workforce would create competition for jobs, “even men’s jobs,” Green wrote. That will, in turn, lower the pay for all jobs and force “more and more others” into the workforce, he argued.
Though Green got backlash and ultimately resigned his position, the fact remains that this attitude continues into today.
This month, a viral video circulated in which a Polish member of the European Parliament ranted that “of course, women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less. That is all.”
These emotions might be viewed as isolated. That view is optimistic. But even if we assume that is the case, two views out there that women are of less value than men is too many — especially when those views are from people in positions of leadership.
Basic biology tells us women and men are not physically the same. But we all, all of us, regardless of gender, should be equally valued. We should be paid the same for same job performance. We shouldn’t be objectified physically or judged on our appearance, regardless of sex. These are a lot of shoulds that don’t always translate to “ares.”
This week, for Women’s Day, we honor our mothers, our grandmothers, the strong women in our pasts that fought to be valued for their humanity. We honor our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters, and hope for them a world to come that doesn’t determine value by gender, but by hearts, souls, strength and mind.
We hope for a world that views us not as categories sorted and weighed in worth, but as fellow human beings with much to give, and the right to receive what we deserve.
We may not be identical, but in the end, what matters is we are all the same, living in the same world which our contributions define and create.
Let’s create a better one.