The international women’s day this year takes place today on 8th March. It’s a day dedicated to celebrate women’s economic, social, cultural and political achievements all over the world. It has been celebrated since the 1900s allowing men and women to champion for gender parity, while highlighting the strides women have made in different aspects of their lives.
Each year, the UN creates a theme for the celebration and unlike last year’s theme #Balance for Better, the activities centered around this year’s theme are expected to run all year long. #EachforEqual is the theme for 2020’s international women’s day and it is a call to action for every individual, both men and women to continue pushing in order to accelerate gender equality. Check out; why we need to push for gender equality
1. By providing a positive space
As a citizen, whether a father, brother, partner, employer or even a friend, one of the ways you can actively take part in #EachforEqual (also recognized as GenerationEquality) is by providing a positive space. Set an example by acknowledging critical issues such as sexual violence, harassment and discrimination and take the responsibility or action needed.
BREAKING NEWS that’s been breaking for decades: Women are still not treated equally in the workplace.
— UN Women (@UN_Women) March 6, 2020
Change is made by individuals and even at a granular level you can cause a rippling effect that impacts an entire society.
2. Break stereotypes
I am Generation Equality calls for collective individualism. It is upon each individual to learn from past mistakes and use that intelligence to champion for transformation. Know how issues such as mansplaining affect those around you and work to change for the better. Let everyone’s voice be heard and listen for change.
Stop telling men that they shouldn’t cry and stop telling women that some matters are too hard for them to grasp. Break gender roles, stereotypes to foster more inclusive and prosperous communities.
3. Exert power for change
Although tremendous milestones have been covered to champion for gender equality, much has yet to be done. If you sit on a position of power or influence, use that privilege to table agendas and carry out actions that accelerate gender equality. So far, only Europe has the highest gender parity at 76.7%. On the other hand, we still have countries where basic human rights are at the top of the agenda yet women continue to experience systematic deprivation and casual violence. From the UN, 49 countries have yet to establish laws that protect women against violence while others are still lacking in the execution of justice.
Top 10 countries that have achieved gender equality:
There are none.
So, we imagined one for you: Equiterra
— UN Women (@UN_Women) March 5, 2020
It is high we time realized that gender equality is more a human right issue than it is a women’s issue. it is more of an economical issue than it is a women’s issue. It is a more of a peace issue than a women’s issue. It is more of a justice issue than a…
For if we establish legal reforms that support gender equality across multifaceted areas; whether at the workplace, or in our societies, we can achieve gender parity sooner.
4. Host/attend platforms, forums and conferences
We cannot refute that the challenges experienced by women are different and broad. Violence sometimes may be cryptic, pervasive instead of the conventional abuse that consists of being hit, raped or murdered. On the flip side, such cases have also been reported by men. On Real Talk, a show aired on Switch TV and hosted by Tamima, a man once shared his traumatizing childhood of being raped constantly by the uncle. When asked if he couldn’t find someone to rescue him from such a predicament, he could only say, “As a man, how do I go around telling people that I have been raped?” in other words, since he was a boy he was expected to man up.
Channeling Anne Hathaway, an renown actress who spoke on International Women’s Day 2017, “There’s a need to redefine and in some cases destigmatize men’s roles in the society.” Indeed in the fight to liberate women, there’s a need to liberate men from gender stereotypes, cultural norms and traditional beliefs which do not influence today’s society positively.
5. Call out, speak up, fight against discrimination and harassment
Not one case of discrimination, harassment or sexual violence has been swept under the rug or assumed as not severe enough to be dealt with action.
A report provided by Truecaller about the prevalence of sexual harassment through calls and SMS couldn’t highlight this better. The research notes that 9 out of 10 women in Kenya are faced with harassment and sexually inappropriate calls, which leave them at the mercies of, “What to do?”
Blocking and ignoring the calls of course are viable options but the fact remains that there’s only so much media one can block. Another problem fueling such circumstances is the local attitudes and authorities who stifle the voices of those affected, whenever they choose to handle harassment with little or no support.
But then again you would be surprised. Only a shy 11% (as compared to 58% in India), recognises sexual harassment as it is. This only shows that there’s an urgent need to sensitize what exactly is sexual harassment and empower people that it is alright to raise their voices against such. That it is alright to take action. This empowerment needs to reach different classes of people as Truecaller’s research was conducted at local markets.
We also cannot lose sight of people in positions of power who leverage their authority as a weapon, to continue harassing people. Such perversity should be called out and dealt with in more or the same manner and measure as Harvey Weinstein.
Therefore as we amplify the theme #EachforEqual and push for gender equality let us not miss the big picture which clearly shows that gender parity is not a women’s issue but a global business issue.
I am Generation Equality counts on you to be a trailblazer and take action wherever you are, no matter how small. For you and I, as collective individuals, hold the key to accelerate gender parity for better economies and societies.