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.
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.
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 ♥
©2015 Christy Birmingham