Some of you may ask why do we still need to celebrate it? Haven't we come so far? Achieved so much? Well lets start with the positives...YES much has changed for women, and THANK GOD!
- Women are entering new and exciting positions in the work force
- Women are becoming more and more active in politics
- Female musicians are proving they can rock as hard as the boys (and not have to be half naked to do it, thanks Karen O!)
- Various NGO's are working hard to improve the literacy and education rates of young girls in developing countries
- Mandatory training is being put in place for our police forces to train them to deal with sexual and domestic violence in productive, healing and constructive ways
- Gay, lesbian, and transgender rights are (slowly) emerging as a strong sub-culture of the women's movement, with gay marriage rights being won and rightfully celebrated
- Women centred AIDS/HIV education and awareness programs are being developed to empower girls and young women around the world
- Numerous programs such as Shanti Uganda have been created to foster the development of unique employment/education/empowerment programs for young women and girls
THESE ARE ALL REASONS TO CELEBRATE! TO BE PROUD!
TO HAVE FAITH, JOY AND HOPE!
Yet sadly there is still SO much work that needs to be done. Overseas and right here in our very own countries as well. DO NOT BE DELUDED! All is not well, all of our rights have not been won, do NOT be complacent. Educate yourself, educate your children. Look out at the world around you and ask yourself "Is this the world I want my daughters to inherit? How can we work to make it better?" Yes, many steps forward have been made but put on your critical thinking caps for a moment with me...
I like facts. Cold, hard, concrete, statistical FACTS that I can sink my teeth into. Show me that women are equal. PROVE IT TO ME, because the below FACTS don't point in the direction of equality:
In a 2010 speech by President Barak Obama:
- working women in the USA made 0.77 cents to every dollar a man made
- 1 in 4 American women would become a victim of violence in her lifetime
- women make up more then 50% of the American population but comprise less then 17% of congress and less then 3% of Fortune 500 CEO's
And our Canadian sisters don't have it any better:
- Men with the same degrees as women are more then TWICE as likely to obtain a higher paying job
- funding to women's shelters and rape crisis centres has been SLASHED across the country
- national childcare programs have been SLASHED making it harder for women to equally compete in the work force
- as of a 2010 Canadian census, we too also make a measly 0.77 cents on average to every dollar a man makes
- Domestic violence rates continue at a staggering rate. Between 1994 and 2008 alone, 178 Canadian women were killed EACH YEAR! That's over 3,000 women's lives, taken because of violence against women
And it is not just Women in North American that continue to suffer:
- rates of HIV/AIDS around the world continue to rise as funding to sexual education classes for girls is cut
- rape continues to be a systematic part of uncontrolled political war fare
- boy children continue to receive better access to education then girls
- and sadly the list just goes on
Not everyone is meant to be a selfless champion for women's rights. Not everyone can be a full time activist, giving themselves fully to the cause. I know I can't. I tried, and admittedly failed. BUT in that trying I reached out to and empowered SO many other women. And I learned that it doesn't always have to be HUGE grandiose, life changing steps that we take. Sometimes the smallest action can create long lasting ripples....that affect us all. So I still do my part, in smaller ways, but I still do what I can. I educate myself, and those round me. I am aware. I speak up. I DEMAND better. I VOTE!
What can you do? How can you positively affect the life of a young girl today? Or of a women in need? Who will your ripples touch?
To celebrate International Women's Day today I am offering the first ten commenter's a FREE copy of an awesome zine I made back in the day called "Sextacular: A Feminist Guide to Sexual Empowerment and Satisfaction!" Everything you ever wanted to know about your girly parts, but were too afraid to ask your mother is in this handcrafted zine! This bad boy used to sell out in MINUTES back when I was actively printing it, and I am releasing a limited time run of ten copies. So grab yours now! Here is an excerpt:
"...for all of the progress we women have made, we still have problems talking about our vagina's and our sexual appetites. Our culture encourages women to look sexy but is scared of women that are sexy, sexy for themselves that is. Learn how to be sexy for YOURSELF first! Self awareness is the best teacher you will ever have. Empower yourself, pleasure yourself, educate yourself, and NEVER take any crap from any partner: male or female..."
Peace, love, pickles and happy vulva's