Every year there is the same inevitable and rather tiresome backlash that takes place around International Women’s Day, and this year was no different…
“Why should I celebrate International Women’s Day when there’s no International Men’s Day?!”
Firstly, there is an International Men’s Day, taking place annually on 19th November. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of men’s well-being and to promote positive male role models. There is a strong focus on mental health problems, toxic masculinity and marginalised groups within men. Celebrated in over 60 countries, I can confirm that this day most definitely exists – and I think it’s a day of great importance.
Secondly, BORE OFF. The original aim of IWD is to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. IWD is a day of recognition, support and celebration, and it is essential – whether you agree with it or not.
#BalanceforBetter is the theme for this year’s IWD; to achieve full gender equality for women around the world. This initiative incorporates improving awareness of discrimination, celebrating women’s achievements, and a focus on reducing the pay gap between men and women.
There are, of course, many other issues that are being addressed. However, I wanted to highlight the global gender pay gap, as I have worked with people who have denied its existence. I have also worked with people who feel that because the pay gap is not prominent in their line of work, it’s simply not an issue. No matter how much you try to deny it Hortencia, the gender pay gap is not a mythical unicorn.
The more people that question the importance of the day just proves why we still need it. The gender pay gap has improved ever so slightly, and only six countries in the world provide men and women with equal legal work rights.
We live in a world where women and girls are still denied basic rights. There is so much work to be done, and I think it’s fantastic that IWD highlights this.
HOWEVER…the slight sceptic in me would like to point out that if you truly care about women’s rights, then you should demonstrate this every day as opposed to once per year. I’ve seen some highly questionable posts over the past few days from brands, ‘influencers’ and other individuals. IWD is not about supporting women one day per year, and it’s certainly not about giving or receiving gifts (SORRY, but it makes me feel a little bit queasy that this day is becoming commercialised. I received an email the other day titled ‘Five Budget-Friendly Gifts for International Women’s Day’…seriously?!)
Final thoughts: IWD does not end on March 8th.