International Women’s Day is one day in a year when everybody is reminded that women still suffer from discrimination, violence, lower wages etc. Ok well, we all know that, right?
It would rather be more interesting to wonder why and how we got there. A report from the International Labour Organisation show that only few improvements have been made over the years. The gap is still there for women who struggle more to get a decent job and a decent wage. It is measured and proved over the years that women are left behind. But why? Do we really wonder why or do we just complain and pretend to care once a year?
It is a complex issue of course, but it is a battle we need to win. Not only for women themselves, but for the whole world. Africa has a huge potential lying in its women for instance, if you give them the opportunity to access education, create their own job and bring money home, they will sit at the table of decisions makers.
Women sitting at the table will bring more equality, and a far better world to live in.
In the Western world, a female candidate is running for presidency in the USA. It will be a big step for history if Hillary Clinton makes it to the top. Women desperately need role models, and we all need to understand that yes, a woman is as competent as a man and can do a good job. Not that we ever doubt it, at least publicly, but it is certainly rooted deep down that men can handle things better. After all, boys are often raised to think thet they can achieve whatever they want, that they are natural leaders. Girls are often raised to adapt to another, that if she wants to achieve great things she will have to sneak around rather that just express it upfront.
Women are not a minority, but we are treated as such though. Pay attention and you will notice it in your daily lives. The insidious remarks, the promotion that only men get, the director who is obviously male (no questions asked, but take a woman at a top position and questions or suspicions will flow), women who take the maternity leave or the half-time at work because it would not really occur to men to do it, the treatment in the media of female politics or experts. The list could go on and on. Just ask yourself the good questions and challenge the male world we live in.
But instead of complaining, let’s celebrate today. And as the Nigerian’s author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would say, we should all be feminists. And not only today. Modern feminism has achieved one big thing: put gender equality right back under the spotlight of the media. Together, men and women, we can make it happen. I’m optimistic for once.