This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is Make it happen.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” A quote by Gloria Steinem
Lately the struggle for equality by feminists might have been perceived as whining by some. These are the most heard questions: Haven’t women achieved much already? Is it not enough for them? Is feminism still relevant today? The word feminist seems to have become a non-word. This calls for negative associations of women and men who stand up for women’s rights.
Image is courtesy of Freepik
As a feminist, a happily married one, I’d like to remind you how far we women have come. In the early years, the women who started it weren’t labeled as feminist at the end of 20th and the beginning of 21 century. Those feminist avant la lettre made the following happen:
Education for women
Have you ever heard of this quote:
educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation. A quote by Brigham Young
Access to education was made possible by the first wave of feminism in the beginning of 20th century. Can you even imagine that only men were allowed to attend school at that time? It is unthinkable now, right?
If this was not fought for, women would had been excluded from literacy because it was a start of education; the ability to read and write. If women were not to attend school, and therefore they could not read and write, I would have not be able to maintain and have this blog, would I?
Right to vote
By voting women are able to choose those who represent themselves best. Along with the right to vote, came the right to be voted too. Politics is not exclusive for men only from then.
Protection of pregnant employee
Although this sadly still happens but officially firing a pregnant employee is forbidden by law.
Those first two seem very common now but they were something women ought to fight for a century ago. Even today in some parts of the world education for women is forbidden. It is no secret that there is a wage gap between a man and a woman with the same occupation and responsabilities.
A succesful woman often has to answer a question about how she combines her family with her job. While succesful man who has a family never deals with this kind of question.
Answering the question whether feminism thus fighting for women’s rights is still relevant today, it still is. Besides the points I shared above, fighting for women’s rights means paying attention to violence against women which sadly is very much going on. Rape, sexual harassment and domestic abuse is unfortunately daily news.
As I emphasized in my post about IWD in 2011, fighting for women’s right and equality doesn’t mean women would like to be men. It is fighting for recognition for women’s achievements. The way I see it the struggle now has changed to striving for equal opportunities. Like men, women must have a choice to make themselves. They ought to be capable to take the path they want, not that this is imposed to them.
Everytime you hear a feminist expressing her or his concern (a man can be a feminist too nowadays) regarding women’s right, remember women’s position a century ago. Those pioneers in women’s rights movement made it happen for us. Let’s make it happen for women now and for our daughters tomorrow.