In February 2018, I kicked off a celebration for my book, Evolving Through Adversity’s five years anniversary on Facebook Live.
This month, I decided on celebrating with a theme in mind. Because, this is March, and March is Women’s History Month, mostly celebrated around the world on March 8th, as International Women’s Day.
So, Happy International Women’s Day, Week, Month, Year. Can we take the whole year? No? Fine! 😊
The Question I asked you on Facebook was: What Does this day mean to you personally? What Is the International Women’s Day, and Why Do People Celebrate It? I read somewhere that this year, women are promoting Hashtag: #PressforProgress, and I couldn’t agree more.
To me, Women’s History Month or International Women’s Day/Week is a time for celebration─ but most importantly, it’s a time for Reflecting. Reflecting on where we’ve been, where we are today, and where we want to go! Because, we can’t change what we don’t know; that’s why it’s important to take time to reflect, and acknowledge the situation we’re in.
Although in many societies women have made progress, beginning with the right to vote and are now eligible to run for public office, become presidents, and some are already leading their countries and governments ─ we cannot ignore that more than 50 % of women in the world still live in poverty, and are the most vulnerable to violence and other forms of abuse.
Even here in America, one of the richest countries in the world, women still have ways to go, especially when it comes to issues like the gender pay gap, and other issues, as it has been recently uncovered by the #MeToo Movement.
In some cultures, and countries, women still don’t have a voice, and are affected by abuse of all kinds, some in their own homes or communities. Young girls are the most vulnerable to all kinds of exploitations, such as human trafficking, and other gender-based misdeeds committed against women, including child marriage, preventing the girl child from getting an education.
And according to the United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees, women and girls make up around 50% of the displaced population around the world.
In many societies, women and girls do intense labors, often times in unhealthy conditions. And most women who work in private and public sectors are often offered lower and undervalued positions with lower pay than their male counterparts, or just offered unpaid work!
This inequality at work is unfortunately also present in some households.
- Whether you work from home or outside of the home, women in households end up working more hours than men, even in the most modern household! There is always an expectation that if you are a girl or a woman, you must do more household chores than your male counterpart.
- The same goes with Caring Work: whether it’s caring for the children, or the elderly in the family, it falls on women to do more of the caring workload.
- When it comes to Finances: Men make or want to make all the decisions on how to spend the money, which impacts a woman’s financial independence.
How Can We Break this Vicious Cycle?
Let me share a few pointers, and by all means, this is far from being an exhaustive list.
- Empowering Women with Economic Development: So, they can earn an income and provide for themselves and their families.
- Providing Girls with Educational Opportunities: both formal and informal education will break this cycle.
- Men Need to Be Involved: Fighting the violence against women is not just a woman’s job. Men need to be involved in fighting all kinds all abuse against women, and open doors to hear women’s voices.
- Ending the Gender Power Struggle: What do I mean by this? Empowering women or gender equality doesn’t mean disempowering men, as it is often misunderstood! So, men and women need to be clear and be on the same page when designing policies and programs to empower women. Women are not fighting to become men! They’re fighting to become all they can become and fulfill their full potential!
- Using Your Voice for the Voiceless: You can make an impact using your voice for the voiceless in the world from where you are. Doing something about a situation that doesn’t necessarily affect you personally, TO ME, THAT’S TRUE PRIVILEGE! Women’s stories matter, they need to be heard.
This is a societal issue, and not just a women’s issue only. Because it affects the whole foundation of our families, of our communities, our countries, and our world.