Women Standing Up For Their Rights
This year, International Women’s Day is getting a bit more attention in the industrialised world, especially in the USA, due to a certain President whose name I don’t want to mention as he is getting enough attention already… it’s a bit like certain reality TV personalities whose name I don’t utter because I am hoping they’ll go away sooner rather than later…
It is estimated that up to 4.6 million women marched peacefully on the streets of America for their rights: rights gained over centuries and not to be taken for granted anywhere in the world.
Rights to enjoy in some countries and not others; rights constantly under threat and rights never to be taken for granted.
Women around the world have been encouraged to take International Women’s Day off work and not spend a cent so that their collective economic contribution can be felt. #DayWithoutAWoman. Participation is easier for some than others but there is no doubt that, if all woman would participate the impact will be huge. What’s not to like?
On the other hand, the#beboldforchange slogan of the International Women’s Day is lacklustre. It proclaims to particularly aim at gender equality in the workplace and equal pay – a complex issue. The resources offered on the dedicated website are weak and don’t tackle the difficult issues.
Access to jobs and pay is not equally distributed. No country in the world has achieved complete gender equality, even if some appear to come close and claim women have nothing to worry about anymore.
Gender Equality and Fairness
On 1 March the Australian published the list of the highest paid public sector executives taking home more than $1million per annum. Needless to say there is not one woman among those 15.
However, is that what we should aspire or should women aspire to achieve a fairer distribution of work and pay to reduce the widening gap between rich and poor in general, not just for women? In other words, are we just pushing for equality in an unfair world so women can be the same as men or are we going after an improved model of equality?
Sustainability and Women – People and Planet
Another good example is goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, achieving gender equality and empowerment of girls. While this goal is supposed to be part of a larger sustainability agenda there is no mention about how gender equality and empowerment will lead to an environmentally and socially sustainable world.
If we don’t connect the dots we won’t reach the our goals.
One important connections is that the more educated women are the fewer children they elect to have – therefore contributing to slowing down overpopulation which costs the planet dearly. Don’t take my word for it, David Attenborough, the beloved documentary maker and narrator explains why population control – and therefore gender equality and girl empowerment matters: