8th March every year celebrates International Womens Day around the world. Happy International Womens Day 2018! As well as a celebration of some of the fabulous women who have made history by standing up for women’s rights, it’s also a chance again for women today to voice their opinions. Despite further progress made in equality over the last few decades, we still have a long way to go.
International Womens Day 2018 – What are the Issues?
Personally, I don’t agree that women have are fully treated equally in the UK or internationally, although I appreciate that in England we are further protected than in developing countries across the globe.
When I was volunteering in Rwanda in 2010 and again in 2012, I witnessed more women in poverty than men in poverty predominantly related in some way to lack of education, and combined with poor infrastructure and technological advances. Women were living with undiagnosed medical conditions in rural areas of Africa as they cannot access healthcare. Child birth related injuries that are surgically treatable, such as fistula, are being left un-repaired in many countries across Africa and Asia in particular (www.fistulafoundation.org). I hate to lump together continents, as individual countries and areas should be mentioned, but let’s face it, if I did that, I’d be here all day!
Back in the UK, women are still poorly represented in certain workforces, particularly politics, engineering, IT and business. I have witnessed many women particularly in teaching and marketing who have essentially ‘committed career suicide’ by having a family, yet their husbands roles have remained largely unaffected. Women are, unfortunately, less likely to be considered for a promotion or role when they are pregnant or have children, despite laws that are supposed to protect them from this.
I myself witnessed what felt like discrimination this year when I lost my job coincidentally 3 weeks before I was due to go into hospital for surgery for endometriosis, a condition that affects women of child bearing age. Ok, we lost a few clients before Christmas, so there were also ‘business reasons’, but I could have easily recruited more clients had I been given the chance. I feel overall that it was for the best anyway, but I honestly felt that they didn’t want to pay sick pay for the time that I would have been hospitalised. Co-incidentally, I’ve since made a full recovery and happily returned to my travel blog and running my own business. There are newer and better opportunities on the horizon! 😉
Violence Against Women and the #MeToo Campaign
Then there’s the widespread issue of violence against women. Many women are staying in abusive relationships, simply because they are financially dependant on their spouse. And women aren’t even safe from abuse on the streets. The #MeToo Campaign saw many women this year speak out on social media about times that they had been inappropriately violated.
Today, on International Womens Day 2018, women are attending protests to speak out about this issue that simply has to stop. No, it’s not acceptable to touch someones body, particularly in a sexual manner, without their permission. I shared my own personal stories of sexual harassment through my solo female travel blog.
Above: A women protesting on International Womens Day 2018 about women’s rights. The slogan ‘si nos tocan a una nos tocan a todas’ roughly translates to touch one, you touch us all, meaning that women are standing together against violence today.
Is there an International Men’s Day?!?!
So, isn’t there an International Men’s Day? Funny you should ask – yes, there actually is! There is no harm in celebrating the wonderful men who have spoken out for equality too! Ok, so I clearly think that there is gender bias in most countries of the world predominantly against women, but International Men’s Day is about encouraging men to be aware of male health issues and to live up to their responsibilities in family and child care. Feminists, don’t be disgruntled!
Let’s finish this post with some sexual liberation all the way from Uganda…