Today is International Women’s Day. And this day matters. Contrary to what some may say about gender inequalities no longer existing, they do.
Last week, CBC’s DocZone aired a great documentary called, The F Word: Who Wants to Be a Feminist?. The documentary was created to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
The F Word discusses how feminism seems to be something more and more women don’t want to identify with – and features interviews with everyday women as well as notable feminists who discuss how feminism has evolved and been stonewalled in the last 100 years since the first International Women’s Day.
Here are some stats cited in The F Word that demonstrate why this day is so important:
According to the UN, women make up 53% of the world’s population, but they own only 1% of the world’s wealth. Women hold up half the sky, but in Canada they are only holding 11% of the seats on corporate boards and 21% of the seats in Parliament. In the workplace, women hold half the jobs, but are taking home 20% less pay then men. So what happened? Wasn’t Feminism supposed to fix this?
One other statistic I feel is important to mention:
If stay-at-home moms got paid market value wages they would earn $117,867 a year. Wow.
Today, Emma Wolley at Shameless also cited several examples of why International Women’s Day matters; why fighting for women’s rights is as important as ever. Her post was written in response to Margaret Wente’s column in the Globe and Mail where Wente argues “the war on women’s rights is over”.
Hrm…over, you say? I’m not so sure.
As Woolley rightly states,
In urban Canada, it’s easy to look around and agree with [Wente]. Women are working in high-paying professions (I’d like to see where she got the stat that we make as much money as men, though), we can vote, our voices can be heard. At least, if we’re white, cisgendered, middle to upper class, and heterosexual. Oh, and if we manage to not get sexually harassed or raped.
The point is…International Women’s Day exists to help raise awareness about women’s issues at a global level. It’s not just about what is or isn’t happening in the western world.
The “free, educated, and affluent women” of the developed world that Wente writes about aren’t the only women in the world. And certainly, if we in the western world feel we’ve “achieved it all”, that doesn’t make it okay to dismiss the needs of women struggling elsewhere.
Which is why there are over 264 events in Canada planned around this day. And while I’m missing all of them, I did get to do one very important thing – spend quality one-on-one time with my daughter.
I think that is a wonderful way to celebrate this day.