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International Women’s Day: Why We’re Not Outing Men

On March 8th, it is International Women’s Day 2015! Hoorah! This event has been held on this particular day in March since 1911. The theme this year is Make it Happen, which refers to effectively taking actions to recognize, empower, and advance women.

As many of you know, I’m a passionate supporter of gender equality and celebrating strong women. Heck you just have to look at my last post on Candice Bergen to see that. Or, any posts here, for that matter. But what irks me is when people think that because we’re celebrating women on occasions such as International Women’s Day that we’re outing men. I don’t get it. Just because we’re dedicated to honoring women doesn’t mean by default that we are saying men don’t deserve their own congratulations. Absolutely, they do, and I don’t want to take away from their achievements at all.

But the reality is that men have historically had benefits not enjoyed by women, and some of those still exist today. Take gender wage inequality, for one. It is one of the major discussions happening on International Women’s Day. Does it still exist? Yes. And, no, I’m not bashing men or saying that every man agrees this is right. Nope. I have male friends who are totally for wages of men and women being equal. I’m not putting the blame on men as a whole. I’m saying society’s structure isn’t right, and it favors men over women in areas such as wages.

On The Wage Gap

The Huffington Post Canada wrote an interesting article today about understanding the wage gap. As per the post, in Canada (where I live) “women, on average, earn only 80 per cent of what their male counterparts earn.” Hmmm!

Are you trying to explain the wage gap as being a product of women working less than men on average or perhaps having less education? According to Library of Economics and Liberty, that argument won’t take you far as “observable factors” (that include education and number of hours worked) only explain up to 50 percent of the gender wage gap.

On Strong Women, in P!nk quote
Quote about Strong Women, from P!nk. Image created by When Women Inspire.

Sadly, the discrepancy between men and women’s financial earnings is not unique to Canada. The gender wage gap does not just hurt women, but it also hurts the economy. Aha, so all people, regardless of gender are impacted by the wage gap, which we’ve now established to exist? Yes. So then another point in NOT outing men.

It will take both men and women in each country to come together to celebrate women in order for females to advance and become true equals to men. If only women are celebrating International Women’s Day, then only a proportion of the population is in favor of change. That won’t make for as strong a push in a positive direction as if both men and women are cheering on female empowerment campaigns and pushing against a system that suppresses women. So, no, we’re not outing the men.

Another day that gets misunderstood is Australia Day. Find out about the Australia Day controversy here.

Advancements and Lending Support for Women’s Day

On a positive note, it appears that the wage gap has declined. Why? Many reasons, such as women taking on more positions that were traditionally held by men, such as in the areas of technology and science. As well, the fertility rate is lower than it once was, at least here in Canada, as many women choose not to have kids or to take less time off work after giving birth than before.

Let’s not pat ourselves on the back yet though as women still need support to get to a place of greater equality. And we want men to be a part of it – we’re not men haters! International Women’s Day is not outing the men and not solely for female participation.

Do you want to lend your support to the 2015 campaign devoted to advancing women on March 8th? Check out the International Women’s Day website to see all sorts of ways you can help out online or offline.

And, of course, let’s keep the momentum going every day to call for gender equality. For a lasting, substantial change, this drive has to extend beyond March 8th. Please show your support all year round ♥

36 thoughts on “International Women’s Day: Why We’re Not Outing Men”

  1. As a man, I think gender equality is one of the most important issues that needs to be brought to attention today. I found this to be a thoughtful and informative piece.

  2. When I was teaching I would hear students gripe about MLK day or days like International Women’s day. That’s when we would have a talk about every day on the calendar being in favor of the powerful majority. I think I got through to a few students on why it’s necessary to draw attention to issues like this when one group has historically had less power than another, but then again, I’m sure they went right back to texting in their laps ;)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Yes, and it’s not just students griping about it either. I wish more people would see the importance of raising awareness and that we’re not as advanced in every part of society as we are in the technological realm. Thanks for doing your part as a teacher. PS I know you will get through this tough time in your life, Jeri. I support you always, and hope you know that. xo

  3. A powerful message Christy… I am proud of labour Laws in Argentina, as they tend to protect women, particularly based upon the constitutional adagio “equal remuneration for equal work”… I think there might be differences in salaries between men and women but that would be explained because of the fact that men usually occupy positions of hierarchy… If the job is the same one, the payment will be the same… This is a constitucional law here, stated in the article 14 of the Argentine Constitution.
    As to labour legislation, the Ley de Contrato de Trabajo 25323 (AKA LCT) provides guarantees, maily to pregnant women, in order to protect them of an eventual unfair dismissal
    For instance:
    LCT. Capítulo II Articulo 177: “It is forbidden to employ women workers between a period of 45 days before and 45 days after childbirth. Upon the worker’s request, pre-birth leave may be reduced to thirty days, in which case post-birth leave would be extended to 60 days. During maternity leave the female worker is entitled to cash benefits paid out of Social Security funds”.
    And: LCT. Capítulo II Articulo 178: “Furthermore, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate the employment of a woman during her pregnancy or absence on maternity leave, except on grounds unrelated to the pregnancy or birth. The burden of proving that the reasons for dismissal are unrelated to pregnancy or childbirth rest on the employer. Consequently, any dismissal that operates within a period of 7 ½ months before and 7 ½ months after childbirth is presumed to be due to pregnancy or maternity, provided the worker has submitted in due time a certificate proving she is pregnant. If the employer fails to prove that the reason for dismissal is unconnected to pregnancy or maternity he/she would be obliged to pay an indemnity worth one year’s salary”…

    I truly believe that when it comes to Western countries, and being these sort of Gaps involved, the differences will easily decrease… Let’s hope so!. Happy Women’s Day and many hugs to you. Aquileana :star:

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you Aquileana for taking such care with your response to highlight what you like about law in Argentina. I wish you a beautiful, productive week! Best wishes from this Canadian gal :) <3

  4. In equal pay/equal opportunity situations there’s still often discrepancy between the sexes: women tend to work harder to prove themselves equal.
    Happy International Women’s Day, Christy. :)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Carol, oh yes great point about having to work extra hard – and also many women feel they have to suppress their emotions, as though crying in the workplace shows weakness. Thank you for the comment! Happy International Women’s Day to you too :)

  5. teagan geneviene

    Yes… During my life I have experienced practically every “category” of gender inequality. I know the gap in “equal pay for equal work” has gotten a bit smaller, but it’s still big. Government jobs present themselves as solving that problem with set pay grades, but all the higher pay grades have many more men than women. And all the very low grades are nearly 100% women.

    All of the issues are, unfortunately, still alive and well. I see them every day, in every business transaction, and in most social situations too.
    I’ve witnessed a few women say “I’ve never had that kind of problem!”… Yet i’ve seen with my own eyes when they actually have either encountered it directly and chosen to be blind to it. And when it happens behind their back (if they are the manager) but they refuse to believe it.
    It hasn’t been fixed yet, and it can’t be until everyone is willing to see it — society, governments, religions, men, and women too.
    Huge hugs for this post. :)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Teagan, I really appreciate your comment here. Thank you. You bring up a great point, which is that some women (and men) don’t want to acknowledge what is happening around them. Or, other people say it is that women are choosing lower-paying jobs. That latter argument doesn’t hold up in my eyes. But we can keep fighting and not let oppressive systems keep us down. The gap has gotten a bit better so hopefully that will continue (I try to stay hopeful!) xo HUGE HUGS and happy women’s day!

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Thank you for taking time here and yes there is still a ways to go yet. Your support is nice to have.

  6. Tricia Drammeh, Author

    Another fantastic post, Christy. We have a wage gap here in the U.S. too. On certain issues such as reproductive rights, there seems to be a backwards trend. Equal rights is a benefit for everyone, not just women. Ask the men in dual-income households if they think their wife should receive the same wage as her male counterparts, and I’ll bet you get a resounding yes. Or the children of a single mom who is only earning 80% of what she deserves. Happy International Women’s Day, Christy!!!

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Tricia, thanks for explaining more about the US situation here. I am looking at the comments here and seeing words from women around the world, which is awesome!! Many hugs and happy International Women’s Day! PS Your comment here has me nodding – we still have so far to go! Let’s do this <3

    1. Christy Birmingham

      C’mon equality! Thanks, Ina. Yes, there IS an International Men’s Day, which is November 19. True!

  7. Happy International Women’s Day! Love that quote by P!nk. As women, we have every right to speak our opinion and stand up for ourselves. In Australia, women face a pay gap in numerous industries, and still have to put up with sexual harassment. The sad thing is many don’t speak up about it. It’s about time we did. IWD is certainly not about bashing or outing men as you said – it’s about recognising that everyone is equal; everyone has their own strengths and talents that we all put to use :)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Yes when I found the P!nk quote I knew I just had to feature it in the post! Oh that’s sad about the wage gap in Australia; I do like though that you tell me what is happening in your country as I’m in Canada. That way we can represent! You’ve got the point totally here Mabel that it’s about unity not us vs him xo

  8. Sooooooooo awesome Christy! Good points to distinguish between man bashing and what this issue is about. We’ve come a long way, yet still have stairs to climb in the name of equality. Thanks for sharing your facts and the link to support! Happy International Womens Day to you my friend!!! xoxo

    1. Christy Birmingham

      Hi Deb!! So nice :) Thanks too for the shares on Twitter as your support means so much to me regarding these issues. Let’s continue to climb and move forward <3 HUGS Deb (aka Steinbeck 2) !!

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