On March 8, we’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day! Join us in championing women throughout history, including their triumphs, their obstacles, and their future endeavours.
You might be surprised at how many people aren’t aware of International Women’s Day, or don’t even consider it necessary. That’s not the case here at the alive office. Women rule the school here. From our passionate writers to meticulous editors to other hardworking staff, we see just how incredible and talented women are, every single day.
But International Women’s Day represents so much more than that. To many, inequality is not an apparent problem and women, especially in North America, arguably enjoy some of the greatest freedoms and opportunities available. However, look closely, and the cracks in the veneer will become obvious. In other words, there’s much more work to be done in the area of women’s rights, and although we need to recognize how far we’ve come, we must also acknowledge where we still fall short, particularly on a global scale.
Know your history
It may seem hard to believe, but in Canada, women country-wide weren’t permitted to vote until 1940. However, First Nations women had to wait even longer and weren’t officially offered the vote without giving up treaty rights until 1960. Other countries arrived even later to the game.
Today, only 23 percent of the world’s politicians are women. Worldwide, women are still earning less than men, in most countries earning 60 to 70 percent of the average man’s salary. Acts of misogyny and violence are still prevalent in our nightly news, and it sometimes seems like we’re fighting an uphill battle. Even the strongest can get tired.
But, we can’t allow these statistics to discourage us. Take a look around you and recognize the amazing women in the world who have been making a difference, changing lives, and standing up for what’s right. Activists like Greta Thunberg and Tarana Burke, and movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are building bridges to a better world for everyone, especially women.
Let’s get to work
So, what can you do? Often, the most important act is simply to speak up. Pay attention to the systems around you and call out words and behaviours that don’t feel right. Research the facts and reasoning behind social movements to educate yourself. Support the women around you and stand up for what you know is fair, and just. Acknowledge the women in your life, the accomplishments they’ve achieved, and the struggles they’ve endured. A hand extended in kindness and acknowledgement can make a world of difference.
Do your part to create safe spaces for women, spaces where they can speak freely and enjoy the same freedoms and rights as all human beings. Work to educate the next generation, instilling a sense of responsibility and understanding of right action. Refuse to tolerate anything other than equality for women, in any situation, under any circumstance.
International Women’s Day is about celebrating all the women who have contributed to society, as well as their achievements and their rights earned. But we should also acknowledge this day as a reminder that there’s still work to be done, and we need to keep fighting the good fight for women worldwide in an effort to make all people equal and equally heard.