International Women’s Day
Today is, apparently, International Women’s Day, and CNN’s website and The Huffington Post and Time all have feature articles involving that in some way. The Huffington Post, especially, has a lot of articles on global injustice toward women. There are blog posts by Marlo Thomas and Annie Lennox, amongst others, bemoaning the sad state of feminism today.
We need to shed light on injustice in the world. We still have such a long way to go towards achieving gender equality. The collective rape of women in the Dominican Republic, and the “corrective rapes” in South Africa, which may be the rape capital of the world, as well as the brutal gang rape of an 11 year old girl by at least 18 men in Texas are featured articles in the news today. There’s also mention of the importance of “V Day,” which is I guess what some feminists are embracing as the celebration of Eve Ensler’s vagina monologues in a tie-in with Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong. Human rights violations based on gender are disturbing and appalling, and we should work to bring attention to them and, hopefully, towards the end of such cruelty. However, sometimes I wonder if the whole label of “feminist” has become associated with victimization rather than power. How often are we demonizing men instead of really helping women?
On International Women’s Day I think it’s important to remember:
Yes, women were once banned from receiving an education or a higher education, but some men worked to change that policy. And then those same men taught some women in their chosen subject of study.
Yes, women were once banned from owning property or receiving an inheritance or holding a mortgage note, but some men worked to change those laws and policies. And then those same men gave women property and approved loans for women.
Yes, women were once largely banned from the workforce with the exception of teachers and nurses and secretaries, but then some men thought that wasn’t right so they hired women for other jobs. Then those men trained those women on what they needed to know to do their jobs.
Yes, women are victims of sexual violence more often than men, and men are more often the perpetrators, but some men thought that wasn’t right. Those men made laws to see that justice could be applied so that women could be safe. Some men even risked their lives to enforce those laws.
Yes, women once couldn’t vote, but some men thought they should be able to vote so they passed a law so that women could vote, too.
Yes, women can give birth, but they haven’t figured out how to do it yet without some form of contribution from a man.
We’re here where we are today in large part because of some extraordinary men. Don’t forget to put the accomplishments of the women’s movement in perspective. We didn’t do it all by ourselves.
Entry filed under: Human Rights, Media, Men, Prejudice, Social Commentary, Violence, Women's Rights. Tags: Annie Lennox, CNN, Dominican Republic, Eve Ensler, International Women's Day, Marlo Thomas, People, Women.