Juno Dawson: Do We Still Need International Women's Day?
"Stand up and say ‘NO! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!’"
International Women's Day is a day about women (the name kinda gives it away), but isn’t just for women. It’s for everyone - so we can unite in being part of the solution of solving gender inequality. It’s a huge issue – and hugely important – and a topic that loads of people know a massive amount about, while lots others are just starting to understand.
So, to help us all get more informed, and able to kick-inequality-ass, we asked a selection of awesome women doing awesome things to share their thoughts on IWD and tell us what it means to them. Here's multi-award winning author Juno Dawson - whatever you do, don't ask her about International Men's Day...
That funny little sound you might be aware of on this, International Women’s Day, is the noise of a vocal corner of the internet whining ‘when is it International Men’s Day?’ The answer is: EVERY DAY IS MEN’S DAY.
The fact of the matter is, we have not achieved parity (equality) yet, despite huge leaps forward in terms of discussion around women’s rights. I don’t think we can stress the facts enough:
As you can see, while women are getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, we need the word ‘feminism’ and we need International Women’s Day. Of course, those statistics only refer to women in the workplace – we haven’t even touched on violence, sexual assault and rape statistics. You’ve guessed it – again women are far more at risk than men.
Oh it’s all so depressing, so I think International Women’s Day is also a chance to celebrate the steps forward we, as a whole society, are taking.
Some good things:
• There is an increasing awareness of ‘intersectionality’, the idea that we all have multiple identities and these will affect our wellbeing and status in society. The colour of our skin, our gender, our sexual identity and out health will all interact to affect our lives.
• More and more men are calling themselves feminists! Yay! Extra snogs for these good men! Feminism benefits everyone because assumptions about gender, childcare and emotional capacity don’t do ANYONE any favours. Any human with a heart should want things to be fairer right? That would include men and women having equal opportunities and the right to live free from fear.
• Feminism is trendy again! After being quite off-putting for much of the eighties and nineties – largely due to bickering within the community about what constitutes feminism – we now have a generation of girls who are proud to call themselves feminists. Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham, Lady Gaga and Lorde are all proud feminists who, whether you like their music or not, speak to a teenage fanbase, who will, like all girls, need feminism.
The LGBT community (which I am also a part of) celebrates Pride because it’s a recognition of the struggles we have been through to achieve some pretty basic human rights: the right to marry; the right to freedom; equal age of consent; the ability to legally change our gender; the right to work. As with women’s rights, we still have a long way to go, but the ground we have covered is worth a party once a year.
The same is true for International Women’s Day. OK, women can vote and work and have the pill, but is that enough? Hell no! So let’s celebrate all those amazing women (and yes, men) who have fought for women’s rights and remind ourselves how much there is left to do. Use International Women’s Day to look for the fighting spirit inside of you because the struggle is real, and every woman reading this needs to stand up and say ‘NO! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!’.
Statistics provided by ukfeminista.org