Sunday, March 7, 2004


here's an important holiday that not all that many people are hugely informed about. tomorrow (monday, march 8th) is international women's day.

women are doing better these days than we ever have. lots of people (especially men) claim that women are treated equally to men; that women are doing fine in the world. if you're one of those people, ask youself:

- why don't women in many places have the legal right to control their bodies? (ie. abortion)
- why are women still the ones on trial in sexual assault cases?
- why is the average wage for women still only 65% of the average male wage?
- why do women do 80% of the unpaid work in today's society?
- why do women starve themselves to become a size 8? (or smaller?)
- why are 78 american women are raped every hour?
- why is the average literacy rate for women lower in most countries than the average literacy rate for men?
- why do women in so many countries not have the right to vote?
- why are so many women forced into arranged marriages, often with men who are significantly older than they are?
- why do so many women and their babies die in undevelopped countries because there is no safe place for them to give birth?

the list goes on and on...

there's no fair answer to these questions. there's no reason why women shouldn't be completely equal to men in every way. international women's day is for shedding light on these sorts of issues.

even if you do nothing else, you can show your support for international women's day by wearing a purple ribbon. it doesn't have to be a special purple ribbon, just an ordinary one that's looped and pinned to your clothes. the purple ribbon is a recognized symbol of international women's day, as well as of interpersonal violence (not only against women, but also such things as police violence, child abuse, etc.). you can be proud to wear a ribbon to support these causes. i'm planning to.

if you want to do more, you could try organizing a peaceful march or protest or presentation. (key word being peaceful!!!). you could also try to raise awareness, maybe by putting up posters or making announcements. this whole week is international women's week. there's plenty of time to do something.

international women's day is in support of women. it is NOT against men. it isn't about women gaining more power than men; it is simply about women striving for complete equality.

it's about women having an equal voice and equal rights to men. it's about women having the right to make the choice about having an abortion. it's about women being legally represented in rape and sexual assault trials. it's about women getting the wages that they deserve; the same wages as a man who does the same thing that they do. it's about women having the right to say no, and have people listen to them. it's about women and girls in developping countries having the right to an education. it's about women being allowed to wear what they want, and talk to whomever they please.

international women's day (and week!) is about so much. we've come so far, and there's no reason why we can't go the rest of the way, especially if we all go together.

personally, i am very much a feminist. i went to a feminist school, which helped me to realize just how big an issue this is. i'm promoting international women's day this year in any way i can. but you dn't need to be a full-blown feminist to raise awareness to women's rights, or to support international women's day. all that you need is an open mind and a vision of the world as a place where ALL people are equal.

i hope you'll join me in supporting international women's day.