I worried for ages about what I was going to write on Instagram and on this blog to mark International Women’s Day. Was I going to say the wrong thing? Is my idea of IWD different from everyone else’s? Am I doing it right? There was a lot of anxiety around it for some reason. I think sometimes our FB/Instagram feeds can convince us there’s only one way to do things.
According to the UNwomen website, International Women’s Day is “a day to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go to truly achieve gender equality”.
It’s as simple as that. It’s also as complicated as that.
There is plenty to celebrate and reflect on. And there is plenty of injustice:
- Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty: it is estimated that 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls. (UNwomen.org)
- Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate people. (UNwomen.org)
- 11 women have died violently in Australia since the year began – we’re only 11 weeks in. (CountingDeadWomen)
- Women and girls make up 70% of all detected trafficking victims. (IPS)
There are thousands of other ridiculous, enraging statistics. It’s overwhelming to think about all the tragedy and injustice in the world and it can make us desensitised. It is impossible for us to fix every bad thing in the world, it’s impossible for me, one person, to help every woman on this earth as they suffer in their unique ways. But if I could find one way to make life better for one woman in the world – whether it’s my neighbour or my sister across the ocean – that’s a start.
Enjoy your day with your best gals, supporting them and championing them for who they are and what they’ve done with their incredible lives – empowered women empower women, after all. Go to your corporate breakfast and hear about the achievements of the women around you. But then make change so that other women less fortunate can also be lifted up.
Find organisations that are doing great work for women, in your country AND all around the world, contribute to them in any way you can. If you can’t contribute, get the megaphone out and share their work with other people. Talk about the injustices in the world, think about how you can help and action it if you can – whether your action is big or small.
Today is about both. Celebration and making change where we can. And persisting in our little changes until they create a big change. After all:
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Audre Lorde