International Women’s Day is next Wednesday (March 8) and it feels somehow more important this year.
International Women’s Day deserves a higher profile, as it has in some Eastern European nations. Not that we necessarily need another flowers-and-greeting-card occasion on the calendar, but if it takes enlisting Hallmark’s help, then so be it.
Because International Women’s Day is as good a day as any, and a better day than most, for thoughts, words and action on women’s rights, gender equality and feminism. Women’s issues are humankind’s issues. And when we say that celebrating women’s empowerment and respecting women’s rights is more important than ever, that isn’t an exaggeration. Throughout history women have faced more inequality than in 2017, of course, but this is the world we’re living in now and this is the present and future we can impact most.
Obviously we still aren’t doing enough. Too many men still have too much to say about women’s bodies and gender roles and what women can and can’t do.
A girl can grow up to be an astronaut or a CEO or even, if the world were a little more just, president of the United States. If we can make those sorts of dreams more plausible, then don’t we have a duty to do so?
The good news is there are a lot of us who do feel a share of that responsibility. Millions around the world protested this winter in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, and although its purpose was left open to interpretation, women’s rights were a common theme. There is reason for concern. When chauvinism or misogyny are normalized or when sexual violence is minimized, then we can’t hope to come close to equality because we haven’t achieved the baseline of human decency.
On women’s day, we should acknowledge that we have a long way to go. Let’s also celebrate the successes that are happening and the progress we have made.
You go, girl – and we believe you can go anywhere you want.