Sunday, 30 March 2008

International Women's Day

My attempt to explain and publicise this Day.

We women have it all ways. All jobs are open to us. No-one judges us on our looks any more. We have sex with anyone, male or female, who attracts us. We have nurseries, nannies or au pairs to look after our children. We have supportive partners who share housework, cooking and childcare.Isn’t this true? So, why do we need a special Day? Surely this battle has been won.

This year's theme is ‘Shaping Progress’ and events all over the world are being held today and throughout March. These events celebrate the centuries of struggle for equality and justice, and the real achievements of women. They also encourage women to continue to fight any remaining obstacles. And many do remain.

Some shocking facts.
According to The Independent, last year Thursday March 8th 2007, in the world as a whole:

  • Women produce half the world's food, but own less than 2 per cent of the land.
  • Of the more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, 70% are women.
  • Half of all murdered women are killed by their current or former husbands or partners.
  • Two thirds of the world's 800 million illiterate adults are women.
  • 2 million girls aged from 5 to 15 join the commercial sex market every year.
  • Violence against women causes more deaths and disabilities amongst women aged from 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.

From the Guardian (6.3.08)
In Britain women fill only 14.5% of non-executive board positions. One in four of the FTSE 100 boards has no women at all. The number of women holding executive directorships in FTSE 100 companies fell last year to the lowest level for nine years.And of course, most women still work in the notoriously underpaid fields of health, caring, catering, shop-work and education.

I’m not a feminist but
Feminism has become a dirty word. Many women arguing a feminist case, will begin by saying, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ Most feminists don’t hate men, but simply want men and women to have equal opportunities and equal responsibilities. Feminism is about women (and men) going beyond the traditional limitations of their gender.
Men and women are not the same.There are differences between the sexes, but these differences are not so great as the differences between individuals. Gender differences are often exaggerated by the way we dress boys and girls, and treat them differently . Children are encouraged to conform to the stereotypical view of a girl or a boy. This is constantly reinforced by scientific articles about gender differences, and children’s needs, backed up by often misleading headlines.Why can we not raise children to act as human beings first, who happen to be male or female?

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