I’m thinking about International Women’s Day (yesterday for us here in NZ).
It’s a day I both celebrate and lament.
Because women are not a special interest group. We are more than half of the world’s population. And the fact that we still have to have a “day”, once a year, saddens me.
The joy of yesterday, for me, was to see my LinkedIn feed full of women’s voices. Ninety percent of my feed was female. Loud, joyful, angry, hopeful, sincere, frustrated, playful, intelligent, insistent, questioning. Women spoke.
The supportive posts and comments from men were also great to see. There are fantastic men stepping up to be supports and allies, and I applaud them.
But here’s the thing: a hashtag on one day a year ain’t going to cut it. A supportive comment and a shoutout to your female colleagues ain’t either. I hesitate to call these things “virtue signaling”, because I firmly believe most are sincere and well-meaning.
But they’re not enough.
Because every day women are subjected to casual, “harmless” harassment.
Because every day women encounter unconscious gendered bias.
Because every day women are stared at when they don’t want to be and touched when they don’t want to be.
Because every day women are raped.
Because every day women are paid less than men for doing the same damn work.
Because every day women are victims of domestic abuse and violence, in staggering numbers.
Because every day, somewhere in the world, men go to war with men, and women are disproportionately affected by the fall out.
Because every day, when men write about their lives, it’s “literature”, and most likely shelved in the Leadership section, but when women do the same, it’s “women’s issues”, or “self-help”, or “chick lit”.
Because every day, when men talk about their world, their experiences, their hopes and dreams, they are philosophers. When women do the same, they are narcissists.
Because every day women are sold the lie that ageing is wrong and terrifying and multi-national companies make millions off their fear.
Because every day women are told, through words and actions, that they matter less.
Women’s voices need to be amplified EVERY day. Not to drown men’s out, but to take their proper place alongside them. Will you #women and #breakthebias and #sexism and #misogyny today? And tomorrow? And every day?
And more importantly – will you step up and take action?