March 8 is International Women’s Day, which is usually celebrated with an awareness campaign for women’s rights. This year’s theme is #PushForProgress.
This year also marks 100 years since women were first given the right to vote. And even then a woman had to meet certain property restrictions and be over thirty years of age. We’ve come a long way since then but not THAT far…
Women still only make up one-third of MPs and there are more men named John leading FTSE 100 boards than women. Women, more specifically black and disabled women, are more likely to harmed by the impact of sexism than any other group.
2017 was quite a year for women. We pushed… a LOT.
- The day after President Trump is inaugurated, women around the world swarmed in protest.
- “Wonder Woman” smashes the superhero glass ceiling, setting a ticket sales record for a movie directed by a woman. By November, it’s the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time.
- The New York Times comes out with the story of the year – Harvey Weinstein assault and harassment allegations. This led to a slew of women reporting similar improper behaviour against powerful men. Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Mario Batali, Louis C.K., Garrison Keillor, John Conyers, Charlie Rose, and Mark Halperin are just a few. The #MeToo movement on social media is born, encouraging women from all walks of life to share their experiences.
- TIME magazine names “The Silence Breakers” — the women who spoke up in the #MeToo movement — it’s person of the year.
- The #TimesUp campaign started to fight sexual harassment in Hollywood AND regular jobs. The women of Hollywood make a statement by wearing black gowns to The Golden Globes to bring attention to the issue. Oprah steals the show with a riveting speech on the long fight against sexism and racism — prompting speculation that she’ll run for president in 2020.
So, a lot has happened since International Women’s Day last year. And a lot MORE needs to happen to make things right. We need to continue motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
What can we do?
Donate to a woman’s charity
The Fawcett Society The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.
Women in Sport Advancing gender equality through and within sport; empowering women and girls through sport and the sport sector.
Women’s Aid Working to help prevent women and children from suffering domestic abuse, through education, advocacy and work with survivors, Women’s Aid is behind the Child First campaign, which aims to stop preventable child deaths at the hands of known domestic abusers by putting children first in family court.
Helen Bamber Foundation A UK-based human rights charity which helps victims of torture, trafficking, war and any other human rights violations. Actress and campaigner Emma Thompson works actively with the organisation.
DressForSuccess Greater London Helping over 2,000 low-income women in the UK get jobs and gain financial independence, Dress For Success helps by providing interview training and clothing to women, helping them to build the confidence needed for them to succeed. One in every two women they help gets the job.
Rights of Women Working to increase women’s understanding of the legal system, provide them with legal information and advice and improve the law and women’s access to justice, Rights of Women focuses on putting an end to violence against women.
Rosa Rosa fights for equality for all women and girls, whether that means closing the gender pay gap or seeing more female representation on FTSE 100 boards.
Marie Stopes Named after 19th century reproductive rights campaigner Marie Stopes, the international organisation provides sexual health services and screenings, contraception and abortion care and advice to both women and men.
Body Gossip Body Gossip encourages individuals to write their real body stories, which are then performed through theatre shows, films and self-esteem workshops in schools.
Women… stop being mean to women
Women who are outspoken are called “angry feminists” (as if that’s a bad thing), while quiet women are seen as desirable.
Stay-at-home mums take issue with working mums, questioning their parenting time. Working mums ridicule the stay-at-home mums, questioning their lack of career vision. Working women will sneer when friends announce that they’re pregnant, and women who want to stay home will scoff at career girls pointing to the biological clock.
If a woman is successful and confident, you can be sure there’s a woman somewhere who has a snide comment. We gossip and backtalk and criticise and make sure the world knows EXACTLY what we think about other women. Whether it be a celebrity or the super fit woman from the gym who has everyone jealous, we just can’t seem to help ourselves.
Don’t criticise another woman’s body type or outfit. Instead make a decision to be aware of your thoughts and your words as it relates to the way another woman looks. And… if you hear someone else doing this, tell them it’s not okay. When someone makes a comment about a heavier girl wearing a short skirt you could say “I love that she feels comfortable in her own skin. More power to her!”
Don’t make comments about another woman’s sexual decisions. Women can do whatever they please. Remove words like ‘slut’ or ‘prude’ from your vocabulary. Stay aware of others who say such things and challenge them.
Stop making the word “woman” a bad word. Think of the terms “She’s such a girl” compared to “She’s just one of the guys”. Or “You throw like a girl”. Or how about “Girls are awful” and “I only have male friends, I just like guys better”. All of these phrases push us backwards. Start using the word “woman” in a positive and empowering way, as in someone who is strong, smart, and independent.
Celebrate a woman’s success. Some women say they’re scared to share their successes with other women for fear they’ll be judged for being too successful. That’s ridiculous. Don’t hold a woman’s gifts against her, celebrate her!
TALK about it – yes, even if it’s uncomfortable
Don’t be afraid to use the dirty F word – Feminism!
Do I believe in feminism… YES! Do I believe in the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp… ABSOLUTELY AND PASSIONATELY. But I also believe in inclusiveness and tolerance and patience and focusing on the REAL issues. Viola Davis gave a speech this past weekend the Women’s March 2018 and she sums up what I believe perfectly. We have to advocate for those who have spoken up – AND those who are still silent.
“No one and nothing can be great, unless it costs you something.” –
— the baxter bean ® (@TheBaxterBean) January 20, 2018