We Should All Be Feminists
In many countries, International Women’s Day is seen as a chance to demand equal rights and justice, but in Russia, it means something very different.
Russia is considered one of the birthplaces of Women’s Day, where it was originally also conceived as a day of feminist action. But the public holiday long ago morphed into something more like Valentine’s Day, blended with Mother’s Day. It has become a romantic occasion on which men buy women flowers and heart-shaped chocolates, and shops are stocked with champagne and schmaltzy greetings-cards. Instead of political statements demanding equality, men make romantic declarations. Well, what are the initial values of the International Women’s Day? What’s the true gender equality? How to achieve a more gender-equal society?
Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself- educating your own judgments. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being molded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.’
But still teach her that the idea of ‘gender role’ is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl. ‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. The first step has been made. We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons, but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. Why should there be a difference?
The point is that both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…or whoever else they want to be. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, where all people are different and all people are absolutely equal, and not as just two opposing sets of ideas. We need to understand that whatever we do, we’re all human beings.
Women won all their rights in battles step by step. At each stage of this struggle for equality, for human dignity, for a chance for a normal life, for education, profession, the choice to have or not have children, there are specific women who refused to put up with injustice. I think they deserve our attention, respect and gratitude. We owe them everything we have today. That is what we are celebrating on March 8th . That is what we continue to fight for. Every girl born anywhere in the world has equal rights and equal chances with a boy. She can choose how to live her life and follow her choice.
I do believe in the need to raise awareness and to educate the people around me how vital it is to achieve equal rights for every single one of us in the name of a better future for ALL.
THIS IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN IN 2020 (only in numbers)
0 – There is no country in the world that has achieved gender parity.
217 years it will take for the economic gender gap to close internationally.
14% of women and 10% of men are actually free of bias against women.
90% of all people (men and women) are still biased against women.
In low-income countries, for every 100 boys who continue their education after high school, only 55 girls do the same.
On average, women around the world spend more than twice as many hours as men doing unpaid work.
22% of women and 78% of men are in ministerial and parliamentary roles worldwide.
25% of women and 75% of men are in management positions in the global workforce.
Gender discriminations are still encoded into law in most of the countries across the globe.
113 countries do not have laws to ensure equal pay for equal work among men and women.
104 countries make certain jobs off-limits for women.
36 countries limit what wives can inherit from their husbands.
18 countries allow men to prohibit their wives from working.
17 countries limit when and how women can travel outside the home.
1. No Country in the World Has Achieved Gender Equality Says UN Women’s Day Campaign, branding in Asia, March 6, 2020. https://brandinginasia.com/no-countryin-th, e-world-has-achieved-gender-equality-says-un-womens-day-campaign/
2. Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators, World Economic Forum, 2017. https://www.weforum.org/projects/closing-the-gender-gap-accelerators
3. 104 countries have laws that prevent women from working in some jobs, Johnny Wood, World Economic Forum, 2018. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/104-countries-have-laws-that-preventwomen-from-working-in-some-jobs/
4. UN study finds almost 90% of men and women are biased against women, QUARTZ, March 5, 2020. https://qz.com/1812802/un-study-finds-almost-90-of-men-andwomen-are-biased-against-women/
5. New Methodology Shows that 258 Million Children, Adolescents and Youth Are Out of School, UIS Fact Sheet No.56, September, 2019. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/new-methodology-shows-258-million-children-adolescents-and-youth-are-out-school.pdf
6. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, Melinda Gates, 2019.
7. Gap at a Glance, Lijun Li, F&D in International Monetary Fund, March 2019, Vol.56, No.1.
Tsuen Ing Wang