For most of us, International Women’s Day is known for the ritual of posting, liking and sharing quotes and photos of the types of women we aspire to both be and know. It’s a time where women come together and unite under this hashtag to celebrate proud achievements as well as share hopes for where we’d like to be in coming years. Whilst many of us – myself included – feel empowered by sharing such moments, I think we easily forget about the ‘International’ aspect to this movement; we forget about the many places in the world where women are failing to be empowered.
Many of us have been fortunate in the societies in which we have been raised – societies where the education, drive and independence of women is championed from a young age. However, the harsh reality remains that in many communities, abilities and opportunities are inarguably linked to gender. What you do, where you go and who you become is not in the control of these women because they lack the resources and communities that should empower them. Whilst we could discuss (at length) the various reasons for this disparity, it’s important to recognise such disparity continues to plague women all over the world, in different forms.
Women predominantly in African and Asian countries, are fighting for unhygienic FGM procedures – which continue to be performed widely on girls as young as 10 – to be abolished. Women in less developed countries are fighting for girls to be able to go to school, child marriages to become illegal, the right to fair trials. Women all over the world are fighting the forces that are failing to empower them.
It’s easy for us to continue our day-to-day lives not thinking of the struggles others may face around the world; International women’s day isn’t one of these days. It’s a day for women to empower and be empowered, regardless of where in the world they are so I ask for us all to talk about and share causes completely unrelated to our circumstances, and how we promise to empower these women through raising awareness of the need for women’s day to truly be international.