Unpopular opinion: Should we do away with International Women’s Day?
International Women's Day (IWD) falls on March 8. It celebrates women's achievements while pushing for gender equality. This year's theme is #EachforEqual, meaning equality in all aspects of life, business, politics, health, sports, media coverage, workplaces, and more.
IWD started in the 1900s where women took to streets in the US and Europe in a series of protests demanding the right of women to work, to vote and to hold public office. IWD was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1977, despite annual celebrations since its conception.
We are now in 2020, yet many issues remain rampant for women today. The gender pay gap is still prevalent; women are still not fully respected as leaders in the workplace, let alone in the household. And don't get me started on violence and sexual harassment against women, and how the justice system does not always protect the victim. We haven't even ventured into issues of child and forced marriages, education, healthcare, sanitation, menstruation, genital mutilation, body shaming — as you can see, the list goes on.
Don't get me wrong. I salute our feminist foremothers who fought hard for the rights and privileges we enjoy today, but truth be told, it is still not enough. We must keep on fighting every single day. The problem with these one-day celebrations is you tend to slack for the rest of the year. To me, showcasing women's achievements for just one day likens it to a Valentine's Day (which I'm very anti of) or Mother's Day (frustrating to have this shoved in your face), which makes it seem frivolous and pointless to keep pushing on.
Walk the walk every day. To single out one day gives others (I'm looking at you, men) to proclaim "what about us? Don't we get a day?", which creates more division and dilutes the cause. Is it equality when the achievements of women are celebrated mostly by women? Are we truly inclusive in thoughts, actions, and lifestyles?
Men need to get it on it, too. There is so much emphasis on bettering womanhood that, sometimes, the men get left behind. Men should educate themselves on gender issues and support their fellow women — not just for a day, but every single day. Start at home by taking more responsibility for the household and children. At work, create space for a fellow female colleague to speak up, or call out discriminating chatter and behaviour. Stop expecting women to show you everything that's wrong in our world.
Do we need IWD? I say we should live it every day to make a constant change and not concentrate or put so much emphasis on this one day in March to uphold ourselves. Because really — who run the world? (Us, duh.)