Today, the 8th of March is International Women’s Day. It is a global event celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
In the 5th decade of life, I am a woman who has experienced many inequities in life:
- I am the young girl filled with curiosity and intellect, but silenced.
- I am the spunky adolescent expected to be ‘lady-like’ that is, demure and soft.
- I am the smart teenager who knew to be compliant and bid her time.
- I am the young lady who is vigilant, highly aware of the daily threat of violence.
- I am the young woman knowing and instinctively trying to be ‘like a man’ in order to achieve success.
- I am a professional woman who hears constant whispers for not being good enough, as a wife and mother.
- I am the wife who hears the voices of generations of women advising her to be ‘humble and serve’, to be patient.
- I am a mother who loves, expecting motherhood to be an encompassing act that comes naturally.
If any of these reminds you of your sister, your mother, your daughter or you… or anyone you know, then you are a witness to the courage, tenacity and love which women are capable of, women around the world who push on every day.
In the Beijing World Conference on Women in 1995, 189 countries voted on an international platform to eradicate gender inequality and promote women’s rights. Twenty years on, how far have we come?
It would be easy for me to list all the goals not reached, the continuing disparity between women and men’s economic power, the persistent aggression and violence against women in private and public spheres and in times of national conflicts…but I know that you are aware of them. The question is, when will they end?
A while back, I posted a speech by Emma Watson, Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, when she launched HeforShe – a Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality in 2014. Well, on 8th of March, Emma will be holding a Gender Equality Q&A in London 1pm EDT/5pm GMT, live stream on Facebook. Drop in if you can.
And when women, who comprises more than half of the world population, becomes a target of the Global Poverty Project, I believe it is time to seriously reflect on how our world is not valuing women.
So let’s be smart and sexy about it… be a feminist!
I am older now, and life has delivered its lessons and will continue to do so, I have no doubt. I own my solitude, my space, my selfish needs and wants. I choose not to be so hard on myself. I choose to speak out on gender inequality.
It is time to change the paradigm that maintains gender inequality, power imbalances and gender stereotypes.
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