Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

March 8, 2010

Today is International Women's Day.

If you are a woman, I encourage you to examine your life as a woman in your place, your time. What can you do, today, to inprove your own sense of equality in your daily life? Do that thing. Start small or start big; that's up to you, but please start. Use your voice to speak up for yourself. Use your feet to carry you into a new challenge. Use your hands to make one change today, to set the stage for other changes in your future. Ask yourself the same questions I ask of men in the next paragraph.

If you are a man, I encourage you to examine the lives of the women you know and have known, as well as your own life. How have you related to women thus far? What jokes do you tell that feed old assumptions and attitudes? Do you see yourself and the women around you as being on the same level? Ask a woman how she feels when she walks down a dark street at night and compare that to how you feel doing the same thing. Notice how many jobs you see as "women's work," even if you would never use that term. Ask yourself the same questions I ask of women in the paragraph above.
You know the issues:
  • sexual abuse and assault
  • work safety
  • equal pay
  • education
  • safe health options and practices
  • domestic assault
  • minimizing women through "humour"
  • sexism in books, magazines and textbooks
  • elder abuse
  • access to training and jobs
  • lack of safety in our communities
  • cultural practices that harm and limit women and girls
  • lack of female-specific health research and treatment
  • assumptions of weakness, timidity and inadequacy
The list is longer than that, but this is a start. No matter where you live, I guarantee that at least some of these problems are common to the women and girls around you...and just because they are female, not because of general poverty or other situations.

There's so much information out there about women and oppression and rights and equality that I will not write any more about them here. Instead I refer you to some useful resources, adding to the list I gave in my March 3 post, "4 Sites for Women (and Men)," which you can find if you click here.

A very few online resources:
  • WomenWatch, the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality
  • Check out this ezine, Modern Feminism's information about International Women's Day and other topics related to women. (If you're having a negative reaction to the word "feminism," I encourage you to consider your assumptions and see what is being offered.)
  • Watch this short UTube video of the Secretary General of the United Nations giving his message about the UN's work to help women.
  • Wikipedia's article on International Women's Day, giving a history and brief discussion of the ways it is celebrated around the world

Think about it. Inequality is all around you. What will you do to change that?

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