Opinion piece by FŻL Social Policy Officer, Naomi Cachia
I look at the world from an egalitarian point of view, where men and women’s rights are treated equally.
So why do I believe it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Despite my initial hesitation, on this day I choose to celebrate the achievements of women the world over, because in 2016 gender-based stereotypes and societal norms still pervade society and trump gender equality before the law:
In 2016 women in leadership roles are still considered as an exception. When we think of leaders, or managers, we think of men.
In 2016 outspoken and assertive women are seen in negative light; bossy rather than as influential or good leaders. This is what I call double standards.
In 2016 society still believes that women have more domestic responsibilities than men.
In 2016 childrearing is perceived almost exclusively as the woman’s domain. Men are expected to have a career; women are expected to sacrifice it.
It is because of such stereotypes that at this day and age we still speak of a gender pay gap.
Yet it is not just stereotypes that women have to overcome.
One of every three women in the world are victims of physical and sexual violence.
Women also endure astounding levels of harassment, assault and rape – for which they are blamed and shamed.
Furthermore, society demands high standards of women in the way they present themselves, and when a woman opts out of them, she is judged.
Finally, it is a fact that women’s reproductive rights are left for male-dominated governments to decide.
Because of the above I will celebrate Women’s Day. Because we have not achieved equality in practice.
I choose to celebrate women’s successes. I choose to march on to help women achieve their full potential on all fronts.
Let’s break the glass ceiling. Let’s push all boundaries.