By Sam Madore
I like any day where I have an excuse to celebrate all of the incredible women in my life.
For International Women’s Day this year, the theme is two-fold: challenging gender inequality when we see it and celebrating the achievements of women everywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I’m on board for both of those things.
In Colchester county alone, I can think of dozens of women who are working hard to improve our communities. Bringing people together, inspiring change, supporting one another…
I dare you to think of a committee or a cause or an activity where there isn’t a hard working woman behind the scenes helping to make it all happen.
Some may think: “We’ve come so far, why do we even need an International Women’s Day anymore?”
And, to that, I say: “Yes, we’ve come a long way, but there is still such a long way to go.”
If you think that there isn’t any more work to do, just remember that, just this year, there was controversy when the then president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, chastised women for talking too much during meetings. In a CBC article, he is quoted as saying, “If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.”
(Pause for shuddering)
Thankfully, he has recently been replaced (by a woman). But, for this type of dialogue to still be happening in 2021, we have a clear sign that our work is ongoing.
If you need an example of why we still need a day to celebrate women and to call out inequality that’s a bit closer to home, just do a quick google search on the increase in human trafficking that’s taking place right now in our area and in our province.
I think our instinct is often to think, “This isn’t happening here. At home. In 2021.” We can call it some form of self preservation and turn a blind eye, but the reality is that it is happening. And we can help by educating ourselves, offering our support and action, and calling out the dangers that are taking place behind closed doors in our own backyards.
Day to day, women continue to face a wage gap, stigmas around having children, not having children, breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, maternity leave, menstruation, menopause, aging, standing up for yourself, not standing up for yourself, and the list goes on… Simply calling yourself a feminist carries a stigma, for heavens sake. As if there is anything wrong with advocating for equality.
Luckily, there has been a shift. Luckily, there are so many women and men who are advocates, who are feminists, who “get it” and who are working together to bridge the gap. Luckily, we have days like International Women’s Day where we talk about how incredible women are and encourage people to have these conversations every. damn. day.
And, if you need help finding a woman in our local area who is doing amazing things and is worthy of celebrating on any day, but especially on International Women’s Day, feel free to reach out to me. I have a very long list to pull from…