08 March 2007

International Women's Day

With apologies to anyone who is looking for more SN ranting, today I'm focusing on my core issue, women's rights.

International Women's Day is today, Thursday, March 8, 2007. From the website:

IWD is now an official holiday in Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

NPR had a blurb this morning as part of the hourly newscast that said that the focus of many events around the world today will be to encourage less violence towards women. Great, yeah, but here's a thought...how about encouraging the elimination of violence towards women. That just struck me as...reaching for the low fruit on the tree. Less violence would be great; elimination would be better. Why not strive for the loftier goal?

I've been meaning to link up another women's rights blogger, Twisty Faster, of I Blame the Patriarchy. She is INTENSE, and completely rockin'. I wish to all the powers that be that I could write about 1/10 as well as she does. I'd strongly encourage my male readers to stay the heck away, though, because really, dudes, you can't handle it.

Kind of switching gears...

I've always been really bothered by pay disparity. International Women's Day seems like a good day to talk about this. What gives? Since I have a va-jay-jay, I can't possibly do the job as well as someone who has a penis? Give me a fucking break. Women, on average, still earn only about 70% of what men earn, and that's just the way it is. It is an accepted fact. You don't hear very much about the equal rights amendment any more, and that is a damn shame.

When I talk to younger women about the 'feminist movement', I get eye rolls and much spewing of anti-feminist rhetoric. The perception that feminists are man-hating, butch lunatics who are in desperate need of a shag is pervasive and extremely offensive. I've been given more strange looks than I can count when I identify myself as a women's rights activist. I've said frequently before that I don't much care what other people think, so it doesn't 'hurt my feelings' when someone wants to bash me for standing fast in the belief that women have the right to the same opportunities that men do.

But I'm in my 30s. Where are the younger women? Where are the fiery radicals in their 20s? Where are the girls still in high school, angry that the girl's softball team won state champs, but the football team gets a new weight room?

Why haven't we broken out of the mold of the patriarchal society? What are we waiting for?


MotherMe said...

I want to know why we only get a single day. To my way of thinking, we should get about 182.5 days, unless this is a Leap year...


Lucy Arin said...

I think that's a great question for Twisty. LOL.