Celebrating International Women’s Day: Why?

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. Throughout the world, individuals, workplaces, and organizations are standing up for women’s rights in an effort to achieve equality. With the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap 2017 report showing that, at current rates, it will be 217 years before gender equality is achieved, it seems obvious we still need to talk about inequality.

As equality issues are different across the globe, a country, workplace, organization, or community will often identify a theme that is relevant to their area. In Canada, the Status of Women Canada identified the simple concept of feminism as our national theme. #MyFeminism

“Feminism is simply about equality – equality for women, men and people of all gender identities. Achieved gender equality means that everyone has their opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Perhaps you think Canada is the land of equality and we don’t experience the degrading and dangerous experiences women in “other countries” may have. News flash: we’re 16th on that global ranking list and not all of those ahead of us are “the Nordic countries”. Rwanda, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Philippines, and Namibia are all identified as having a smaller gender gap than Canada.

It is important to recognize what has been achieved in Canada and the relative equality we do have in comparison to many others; however, we still have a long way to go. Given our resources and relative wealth, Canada should be ranked #1. It’s a disgrace that we still*:

  • Lack female leadership in the workplace and in decision-making positions,
  • Make women maintain the domestic front (13.8 hours on chores versus 8.3 hours for men) and be the primary caregivers (of children or senior parents), and,
  • Continue to experience violence, sexual abuse, and harassment on a ridiculously higher rate than men; have a 30% wage gap. (Per the above report, Rwanda, Nicaragua, and Slovenia all have a smaller pay gap than Canada does).

Other groups, such as the UN, are celebrating “the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential” with the theme of Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives. #TimeIsNow

International Women’s Day, a website dedicated to the day, wants you to #PressforProgress and are encouraging you to call-for-action in your everyday amongst your friends, colleagues, and communities. They have a specific page dedicated to Women in Sport, recognizing the value of sport in a girl’s (and woman’s) life and the inequality of coverage in the media.

There is a commonality amongst all of these larger themes: celebrating and promoting those who are change makers. Change makers are not just celebrities. They are the everyday woman who are doing what they can. You are a change maker for reading this, for sharing this, or for simply having a conversation with your partner, daughter, friend, or co-worker.

Active Women supports #MyFeminism, #PressforProgress, and #TimeIsNow because we:

  • Celebrate women participating in activities that are typically male-dominated;
  • Recognize the inequality that exists in pay; and,
  • Support equal and real representation in sport.

What is #MyFeminism to you? How will you #PressforProgress? What action can you take for #TimeIsNow?

 

*References at Status of Women Canada with links to primary sources: http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/commemoration/iwd-jif/equality-egalite-en.html

 

 

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