International Women’s Day has always been a good time to reflect on our rights as women: The right to vote, equal pay, ending domestic violence, reproductive rights, and more.
We have been lucky enough in my generation to grow up not knowing we would be treated differently than men. When I was in elementary school, we were promised equal opportunities, and the boys did not get special treatment over the girls. I didn’t even know that my great great grandmother was the first generation of women to vote. The term “great great grandmother” seemed so far away and long ago.
All of these archaic demands seem so far in the past. Not able to vote? Don’t be ridiculous. Political power runs through my veins. Equal pay? Why would I be paid less than a man for the same job, of which I am fully capable? Don’t even get me started on domestic violence. Obviously only a weak person would not be able to properly articulate their problems and resort to violence. And not allowing a woman to determine how their own reproductive organs are managed is just ridiculous.
But these are all still relevant issues today. We need International Women’s Day, because the fight isn’t over. Women are still treated as less than men. The truth is, we’ve even been told we’re getting equal pay, but we’re not.
We need International Women’s Day because of the way women have been treated in the past, and the way they are treated today. Things have changed and shifted, but men continue to cat call and demean women in vulnerable positions. In the customer service industry, the customer is always right, and you try to put on a smile, and be a “sweetie.” There is a line. It is a line nobody should ever cross. It is the line of respect for another individual. When you tell her she would be prettier if she smiled, tell her she’d be cuter if she did this, or that, or spoke softer, or batted her eyelashes, you’re telling her she isn’t good enough. Telling her she is less than you, and that you have more power than her.
So don’t do that. I’m not stuck in the old ways. I’m moving forward. Enjoying my right to vote, to be a journalist, and to have a voice. We should all get to enjoy this freedom without constant harassment for a gender we never chose.
And I’ll tell you, if I could choose a gender, it would probably be this one. There are so many wonderful things about being a woman. Enjoy living in your own skin, whether you’re a woman, man, transgender, queer, ethnic descent. Whoever you are, enjoy it, and let others enjoy theirs too.