Not having a man by your side doesn’t stop you from being perfectly satisfied with your life or pursuing the career you want. That’s equality”. Simple, isn’t it? Still, some facts paint another picture.
Only 6 countries have equal legal work rights for both genders and it will take 108 years to close this gap. Also, women are 47% more likely to suffer severe injuries in car accidents because safety features are designed for men, 33,000 girls become child brides every day. Shocking, but true.
However, Sunday 8th March, International Women’s Day, should be the day of hope that this reality will change.
This year’s motto, #EachForEqual, shows that the real change starts with each one of us. It is all about collective individualism. About aiming at individuals’ conversations, stories and actions to empower women all around the globe.
Big words and changes can not be achieved in the snap of one’s fingers and it clear that this doesn’t seem to work in the world created by men for centuries. This year we are instead urged to focus on small, incremental steps gradually bringing gender equality.
Feminism is not about hating men; it’s about empowering women. Gender equality is about giving women the same social, political and economic rights. It is a common goal for all individuals.
Half of the world’s population is prevented from showing its full potential. Thus, lack of gender equality is harmful not only to womankind, but to the whole of humanity.
Many small pieces form the whole picture of equality. Some of them are truly splendid. Consider for instance female managers, CEO’s and supervisor’s constantly breaking the stigma that holding an important professional position is not in any way associated with gender.
Similarly, think of all the women who created world history. Andree Borrel, who organized underground railroad between France and Spain during WWII, or Beryl Markham, one of the most important figures in the aviation industry in the 30s – two examples just to start this long list.
There are also plenty of small things that create a significant difference. Gender equality is doing weight training without thinking it’s not “womanly” or it’s only suitable for men.
Gender equality is about not feeling vulnerable or weak walking somewhere late at night. It’s about dressing however you want without looks of judgement or critique.
It’s about being in a relationship but never being financially dependent on your partner.
It’s about following your passions and goals without ever thinking “I shouldn’t be doing this because I’m a woman”.
Every one of us has her own view on equality that helps to form the full image.
“Men and women are subject to the same expectations. There is no reason why society should question a women derailing from tradition.”
“Being a woman in this age is such a privilege because there are so many fights happening.”
“Equality is about getting a job because of your qualifications, regardless of your gender.”
Each one of these statements is a unique one, just as every woman is.
As well as pushing this year’s motto #EachForEqual, IWD 2020 sets a number of targets. One of them applauding a different section of society in which equality has improved, such as equality for female athletes.
On Sunday, 8th of March, women celebrate their empowerment through sport events, including Pune Women’s Half Marathon in India to promote women’s health or the Los Angeles Marathon. Another mission is to support women on their own terms, which is truly empowering in itself.
It’s especially about encourage female entrepreneurship where they have the ability to create the businesses on their own terms and combine this with motherhood without having to sacrifice their careers. Yet another goal is to increase visibility for female artists.
As part of this mission all women around the world are encouraged to enter IWD 2020 photography competition to celebrate women in their daily lives. To take part, simply visit EyeEm platform and submit a picture of your choice.
An equal world is an enabled world. Let’s stand together, #EachForEqual, challenge stereotypes, overcome biases, broaden horizons and celebrate women’s equality as a fundamental.
Illustration Credit: Kat Cass