So this morning my husband wished me a happy international women's day and in the next breath asked me if there was an international men's day. He was pressing my buttons and as he knew I would, I reacted swiftly and with force. "Every *!*@$%* day is international men's day" I hissed.
He was greatly amused.
The reason he knew I would be unable to ignore his dig was that on this day every year, some male asks me that exact same question when I make reference to IWD, which I always do in whatever workplace or other context I find myself in. And usually they are not just having a go...they genuinely want to know why there would be an International Women's Day and not the male equivalent in an effort to be just and equitable. They think it is a fair question for one reason only...they are men and as such have not have to live their lives as females. Those of us who do are all too aware that every *!*@$%* day is international men's day.
Even in our supposedly enlightened 21st century, and "sophisticated" Australian society, we do not have equity. Sure in some countries and cultures, women and girls do not even have access to basic rights and are punished on a daily basis for being female. There are females who are much worse off than we are. But make no mistake, we have our own issues, remembering that women are not a minority - they make up about half of the population. Just for starters:
Women make up only 23% of CEOs in major companies and only 26% of members of parliament.
The vast majority of employees in comparatively low paid careers such as teaching and nursing are women.
Women receive approximately 15% less pay for the same work as their male counterparts.
Women retire with about half the superannuation than men do.
The fastest growing demographic for homelessness is women over the age of 55.
Women make up the biggest percentage of part-time and casual employees.
Women do most of the work around the home, whether they are also in paid work or not.
Women cannot be ordained in the vast majority of Christian denominations.
Approximately one woman per week dies at the hands of a current or former male partner (that is death's only...doesn't count injuries or other disadvantages caused by domestic violence). Last year (2022) the official count was 50 deaths - pretty much spot on with the one woman per week average.
In case you are wondering, no, I haven't pulled these figures out of the air. They are all statistics that I discuss fully in a book I will soon be releasing titled Making Herstory: Reclaiming a Woman's Place in a Patriarchal World. In it I also discuss where patriarchy comes from, and why it is still so prevalent in this day and age. And yes, I also look at ways we can diminish it further.
Aside from that though, I truly want to wish all women everywhere a happy International Women's Day. Women who work hard, often for little or no pay, who selflessly look after family, see to the needs of others, make sacrifices and the world a better place. Women who manage households, bear children, deal with menopause and all its joys, who always have to consider their personal safety, and who fight for a better world. I see and pay tribute to your courage, your tenacity, your capability, your insight and your strength. And I wish you all well in your awesome contributions to this world as females. Happy IWD.