March 8th has been named as International Women’s Day to celebrate the various achievements of, and draw attention to, the ongoing plight of women around the World.  Each year the UN suggests a theme for the celebration, but each country is free to choose their own theme.  This year’s UN theme is:  Women and men united to end violence against women and girls; and, in Canada,  it’s:  Status of Women: Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality.

Wubby frequently accuses me of being a feminist and it’s definitely not a compliment when she says it.  Like many of the womnn I’ve known who grew up after the political turmoil and change of the 60’s, she has never experienced (or recognized) overt inequality based upon her sex/gender (a discussion for another day.)  In the beginning, she would say “feminist” the way others say “gay.”  Definitely a pejorative!  After many, many “discussions”, she now says it with affection.  Because she’s smart, and when she hears some of my life experiences, it helps her to “get it.”

I’ve often wondered about this paradox though.  So many women sacrificed so much so the women of today could experience the lives and achievements Western women now take for granted.  When they see news stories of the inequities in other countries and cultures, they are astounded (if they even listen) and blithely say, “why don’t they do something about it?”  They are not constrained from making changes in their lives, so they expect it to be that simple for others!

It was not that long ago that women were expected  to be “given away” in marriage, produce the heir and children to work, keep house and support their man.  They weren’t educated, didn’t have their own money or property and weren’t expected to have their own opinions.  They were literally the property of men and passed from one male household to the next.

Women today (not “the girls”) have the opportunities and CHOICES they do, because others committed their lives to ensuring them the almost equal rights they now enjoy.  They put themselves in danger and sacrificed their goals, opportunities and choices, so their future daughters and granddaughters could be free from the entanglements they had no choice but to endure.

Somewhere along the way, we left out the important part of passing along the passion that drove these women.  How can we change things now, so that young women don’t say, “I’m not a feminist, but I do belive women should recieve the same wage for the same work.” I confront this statement every time I hear it.  But the rolled eyes and loud sighs clearly indicate that the message isn’t getting through.  (And what ever happened to “respect your elders”  🙂 )

The idea of International Women’s Day is a good one, but how many of you actually knew what today was?  Why isn’t this as big a holiday as Mother’s Day?  Why doesn’t it garner as much attention as Martin Luther King Day?  Or even Guy Fawlkes Day?  Where are the Women’s Day fireworks and traditions,  accompanied by the impassioned pleas for the large population of the world still suffering because they were born female?

These questions and thoughts are as much for me as to call attention to this day.  I know that in my life, I must begin to find a way to pass on the importance of the achievements of women worldwide, and the necessity to ensure that all women are treated with respect and given equal opportunites in their lives.  I hope my boys will be strong advocates for women, strong advocates for equality, and the protectors of those in no position to protect themselves.  They will both face struggles because of who they are and I hope this will give them compassion and fortitude so they can fight the good fight and be proud to call themselves feminists.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures
Hope you laugh like I did!

~ by byrningbunny on March 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “”

  1. It can be very different to celebrate the day. I had enough “celebrations” (= plain vodka drinking) in the previous Soviet Union and I never want to hear about this day any more…
    But I understand well all the positive you told here about feminism.
    And thank you for your visit 🙂

  2. What’s up feminist! LOL
    You know my problem with the word “feminist” was that it seemed to exclude women of lower socioeconomic status and women of colour, but I have overcome my resistance to the word and also cringe when people complain about “feminism” while enjoying the privileges from the women who fought for our rights.
    This made me excited to write a thesis about women in leadership positions because of the Canadian theme for this year!

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