International Women's Day: Who Needs It?
Let’s be honest: Aren’t we all just fed up with women moaning about how they’re not treated properly, how they’re still victims, how they keep bumping their heads on glass ceilings . . . how they’re excluded from the Canadian national anthem, for crying out loud?
I mean, women have been Prime Ministers of England and India, CEOs of Hewlett-Packard and Rite-Aid, Governors-General of Canada, presidents of umpteen universities—I mean, sheesh: What do women want?
International Women’s Day, now almost 100 years old, tries to tell us what women want:
More shoes! Better make-up! Botox! Higher credit card limits!
How about this list instead: Votes, and votes in elections that actually mean something. Economic opportunity to start even a tiny (micro-) business. Inheritance rights. Freedom of speech—and dress. Safety from genital mutilation, arranged marriage, polygamy, incest, prostitution, drug addiction, and rape.
Or how about just this, closer to home for most readers of this blog: A single standard of professional evaluation, such that male initiative is not translated as female pushiness and male resolve is not understood as female stubbornness. Recognition that women bear children, that it’s good that they do, and that society ought to help women do it well (hear that, American maternity leave?). And freedom from any unwelcome sexualizing of conversation (including one-sided flirting) in the workplace, in the volunteer sector and, yes, in the church.
Speaking of church, how about this: Insistence on female presence in leadership. Welcoming of female voices in the pulpit and in church meetings. Honouring of female volunteers—beyond those who sing in public.
Or how about even just this: Freedom from interruption in conversation. Men looking women in the eyes during conversation. Men noticing that women are trying to get into the conversation in the first place.
(Believe me, guys: We all have something to learn here. I certainly have had a lot to learn here.)
International Women’s Day: Who needs it?
I do. You do. She does. We all do.