Today, the world is commemorating and celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women from past, present and future.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Inspiring Change’ and along with inspiring positive change in various areas, this theme encourages advocacy for women’s advancement and advocacy to challenge the status quo to gain women’s equality.
Actually, this year’s theme could be the theme for almost any year, since women have continuously worked for change. We have seen evidence over the years of changes in policies, cultural norms, and societal attitudes about women’s equality.
However, we know that there is a lot left to be done. As long as women are paid a mere fraction of men’s pay for doing the same jobs, we’ll continue to commemorate International Women’s Day. As long as seven out of ten women suffer violence at the hands of men, we’ll need IWD. As long as there are less than 50 per cent women in all high-profile and important positions in society, we’ll need IWD.
As long as girls under the age of 16 are being married off, we’ll need IWD. As long as men refuse to accept these and other points and in doing so actively contribute to rape culture, we will need IWD.
The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.
And remember, feminism is not to have women hold on to the power over men, but rather to have everyone treated equally.
Whereas, men should be able to respect women, love and respect them, to women all over the world, I say, support each other and never allow yourselves to be discouraged from reaching your full potential. Mould yourselves as you see fit, and forget about what society says you should be.
And if I could just paraphrase the words of Michelle Obama, as women, you must stand up for yourselves. As women, you must stand up for each other. As women, you must stand up for justice for all.