The 8th of March is Women’s Day. I don’t think that anyone needs reminding, and with the kind of social media we are exposed to there is no way one could forget. Away from the mimosas and the gifts one may give to his partner on a day like this, I think it is important to reflect on the important and indispensable part the women play in our lives.
For years, women were expected to fulfil their role as mothers, be dutiful wives and caring daughters and the buck stopped with that. There was no sense of gratitude for all of this, no need to stop and thank anyone. She was expected to do her chores, no more no less.
Luckily things change and the way society looks at women has slowly but surely changed as well. Huge progress has been made in promoting women’s rights, and to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities not only at the work place but in life in general. Gender discrimination is part of the charter of human rights, but still today, in this modern world of hours, on average a woman still receives about 35 percent less salary than a man doing her same job, democratically elected governments in modern democratic countries are pretty much aware of this but despite promises this issue remains one that legislators prefer to hide under the carpet.
We boast of advances in our way of living, in technology, space exploration and a million other things, yet, the vast majority of those living in absolute poverty are women, the overwhelming percentage of those victims of rape, domestic violence, and deprivation are women.
We cannot close a blind eye to this, and whilst pressure groups to their best to show the whole world the truth, it is crystal clear that not enough is being done. We are just skimming the surface, doing the bare minimum to appease the conscience of those who prefer let sleeping dogs lie.
To this day we still have countries that consider women as an object, countries who still permit female genital mutilation and countries where raped women are stoned to death for committing adultery. YET in spite of all this, our modern democratically elected governments in our first world environment still choose to do business with these so called government, yes, our democratic, educated governments choose to close an eye on these atrocities as if they were just a small irrelevant smear on a huge sheet of paper.
Woman in the world are on two completely different platforms. As we stand today, we have those power houses ready to take over a world that was previously dominated by men, mainly in business, government and the sort, and on the other platform women who are trying in vain to at least be recognized as human beings. This may be a difficult thing to fathom for many of us who depend on our wives, girlfriends, mothers, aunties and grandmas every day. It is a difficult thing for us who respect women for who they are and not use them only for the services they render.
This year’s theme for this special day dedicated for the special half of the human population is Balance of Better. It does have a nice ring to it, but how relevant will it be tomorrow? The onus is on us to make this work, it is up to us to work together to turn sweet talk into action to raise awareness against bias and to actively campaign and take action in favour of equality.
Having said all this, and more, advocating for gender equality and for equal rights for everyone irrespective of gender, race and sexual orientation should be an everyday priority and we must show as much on our place of work, in our homes and in our social circles. Let us influence others with positive behaviour, let us challenge stereotypes, let us challenge bias. Most importantly, let us focus on educating, on respect and ensuring that no one is left behind.
If we all stand up to be counted; together we can make a difference and make the world a better place for all of humanity.