Today is International Women's Day, a global celebration of social, political and economical achievements made by women and a call to action for continued progress toward equality and empowerment.
In fact, this entire month is Women's History Month. Did you know that? I have a feeling most people don't. It's just not publicized the way other observances are, which is a shame.
I think there is the sense that we have achieved equality and empowerment, so what's all the fuss about? Well, for starters, I think as a society, we have become apathetic to the fact that women are still marginalized, still suffer abuse and violence and objectification because it all has become such a "normal" part of the culture. What's worse is that even some high-profile women, like Britney Spears, objectify themselves as a marketing ploy in the name of empowerment. Britney owns her sexuality about as much as that stop sign on the corner. This is not empowerment, and no one is telling her any differently. Not to mention how much of this empty culture has infiltrated what our kids absorb and emulate. When will it stop?
Women in developing countries suffer the most - often, they do not have any rights at all and could even be killed for the slightest breach of cultural protocol. Who is standing up for them? As a side, this site has some interesting information on the topic.
I was reading an article in my local paper yesterday and how strong women are still often overlooked in school textbooks. If it were left to the textbooks, our young girls would think that Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman and Sally Ride are the only American women who achieved anything worthwhile. That's not to downplay their achievements, because they were extraordinary, but there are so many other women, in the US and abroad, that have shaped society. Most times, their actions were about achieving something for the greater good, not purposely breaking the gender barrier, but as it turned out, they did both. Our girls should learn about them and now...and not just what they did but why they did it and what it all means.
So, today, let's remember the amazing women in history, the amazing women in the world today and in our lives, but let's also show our support for those who are still fighting for basic rights and equality. We have come so far but have so far still to go.