Depending on who you ask, the word ‘feminist’ denotes both positivity and negativity. Strength and struggle. Acceptance and resistance.
Imagine that you’re a 9 year old girl and your family has sold your hand in marriage to a man you’ve never met for the price of a goat.
Imagine that you never made it past your second birthday since your parents decided to end your life because you are a girl.
Imagine that you’re expected to hole yourself up at home for a week every month because feminine hygiene products aren’t available at the corner store.
This is why we still need International Women’s Day.
Not because we need to place women on a higher pedestal than men. Not because women need to conquer the world and overthrow male power and dominance.
We celebrate because we’re reminded of the strides we’ve made toward gender equality. We celebrate because ‘his’tory is slowly being written to include a paradigm shift towards a fusion of masculine and feminine energy.
But we also need to take a moment to pause. While in some ways we’ve moved forward, in many ways and places far from our modern first-world backyards, women and girls undergo inhumane treatment unlike any we could ever possibly understand.
Gender inequality has been deeply ingrained and won’t disappear overnight. But we can start in our own backyards, by raising our consciousness to understand that we can begin to make a difference by taking a stand.
1. Are you a woman? Vote. In many places around the world, women have no voice. While I do believe that politics are corrupt, today I remind myself that I still have the opportunity to make my voice heard.
2. Donate your time or money. Pick a cause that resonates with you. It might be donating time or money to a local woman’s shelter. Find a charity that supports women’s freedom in a remote part of the world. Every small contribution adds up to a big difference.
3. Start a conversation. Ask a woman in your life about her experiences. Her answers may shock you. Speak to a young person in your life about gender equality and sexual consent. The future is young.
4. Support female artists. Make an effort to seek out and support female writers, musicians and artists. Without an audience, their voices will fade into the background.
I can envision a world where our young girls instinctively know that they’re powerful mavens and change-makers.
A world where women naturally make the income equivalent to a man doing the same job.
A world where a woman isn’t publicly and ruthlessly shamed for speaking out about abuses against her own body.
A world where those abuses are no longer tolerated in the first place.
Where she can freely choose when and if she gets married and has children.
Where she is free to experience and explore pleasure, desire and her innate strength without being hatefully labelled as a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ or ‘bitch’.
Where the feminine body, energy, creative power and emotional currency are respected, appreciated and celebrated for the ability to shift, nurture and create.
Today is International Women’s Day.
Let’s take one step closer to a world with more love and less hate.