Hey, so I’m going to say something that might make me quite unpopular. Why do we need International Women’s Day? I mean, yes it’s great to celebrate our brilliance but why do we need a special day to do that? In the current climate, I find it particularly interesting that a gender specific day is celebrated with so much enthusiasm. Well, by enthusiasm, I mean the media are enthusiastic. We – as in the human race – should be able to celebrate our accomplishments any time we like and even better, feel we can celebrate others. It doesn’t feel particularly progressive to me that we (as in women) need a dedicated day to do so. And what about all the gender-confused people? As a society we are encouraged to accept gender neutrality and trans-gender as a given, so surely the bigger picture is that we should be able to celebrate anyone and everyone’s successes freely. Let me be very clear; I’m very proud to be a woman. I’m independent and fairly proud of my (what to some might be mediocre) achievements, but do I feel the need to have a day to celebrate this? No.
And what about women who don’t feel very empowered and don’t have the people, resources or opportunity to shout about how well they are doing. Worse still, what about the women who are not even aware that it is “their day” but are simply focussed on surviving any given day. Having the media flash images of largely already-celebrated women who are at the top of their game all over every paper and social media stream, is not exactly going to give them a huge boost of confidence or sense of empowerment.
I can genuinely say that not one single woman in my life felt the need to contact me directly, call or text me on International Women’s Day. There were no high-fives at the school gates. We support each other all the time generally by recognising our strengths and applauding each other for good parenting or personal achievements anyway. Not because someone or something (specifically the media) tells us we should.
I actually done a little social media experiment. My husband and I put an IWD post across our business channels, on which we have a small following, and guess what? The few interactions (literally a handful) we got were largely from my friends, other mums and direct business associates who genuinely know that I am ace (lol). A picture of my face and a statement that I’m great didn’t invoke an outpouring of support from a wider audience and if not, then what’s the point? All those people who did answer are people I respect and equally acknowledge – regardless of gender and regardless of the bloody day.
And on that note, I’d like to acknowledge that there are many strong, kind, unequivocally masculine men who have positively influenced me and helped shaped me into who I am. Many still influence and teach me lessons about myself and the world. I didn’t arrive at a point of feeling I could celebrate being a “great woman” without them, but it doesn’t feel like men are even an acceptable word on IWD, which is surely oppressive in itself. Should they just sit down and be quiet for the day? Would we accept that? I recently posted on Twitter that I found it interesting that International Men’s Day isn’t celebrated with as much gusto. To which I got a very passionate reply from a lady whose response was quite vitriolic. But why? She said “they can’t even allow one day” and are “trying to make it about them”. Who are “they” and what power do they have to stop a celebration? Certainly none of the men I know were doing anything related to Women’s Day. Some found it comical that we even needed a day to celebrate how powerful we are. And for sure, most were not even aware that there is actually an International Men’s Day. Which comes back to my original question; why do we need a day? I’m not trying to be argumentative. Far from it, I’m actually curious to see if there is an angle I haven’t considered.
For years, decades, centuries, and still now, women have fought for equality and yes, I am well aware there there are plenty of countries, industries and scenarios where women are still oppressed. Which again brings me back to the point – particularly in that scenario – how does having “a day” make an iota of difference? I agree wholeheartedly with equality, women’s rights and ensuring a better world for the next generation. I want all my nieces and friend’s daughters to have all the same opportunities as my son. And genuinely, I think they do. So I’m failing to see how taking a day will help that. We should all celebrate ourselves regardless of the day.