It’s already Women’s History Month so you’re probably wondering why does it matter that March 8 is also International Women’s Day? If you’re already dedicating a month to the history of women, isn’t that enough? Not quite.
Women’s History Month is all about celebrating our past and being proud of how far we have come. We look back and commemorate women who have made major changes in their time and how they have affected us today.
International Women’s Day, on the other hand, is all about the future. It’s a day for us to look around and realize that despite all the progress that has been made, there is still much to be done.
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated back in 1911 and wasn’t nearly as much of a world wide phenomenon as it is now.
Back then it was only celebrated with women marching in four European nations. The courageous women realized that there were great inequalities facing women, but even those ground breaking activists had no idea of just how bad the inequalities would get.
Now, all over the world, women are banding together to fight against injustices in their own countries.
Here in the United States, women workers are still fighting for their right to have equal pay. Many hard working, ambitious young ladies are working harder than men with the very same job and earning much less – almost 20 percent less to be exact. While women here in the U.S do have many more rights than women in other countries, we are still one of the few countries that has such a wide pay gap between men and women.
Perhaps one of the cruelest injustices that women face happens in India and China. Before a young girl even has the chance to see the world around her, cry for her mommy, or even be given a name she is murdered simply for being a girl.
In India, most parents wants to have a boy so that they can avoid paying that expensive dowry when their daughter gets married. As for China, an over populated country led to the enactment of the one-child policy and when families have to decide which one gender they want, they usually opt for a boy.
Many of the rights that we in the U.S take for granted, women in other countries only dream about having. It is common to meet a woman and discover that she has been divorced – and in some cases multiple times – here in the U.S.
In Egypt however, it’s a different story. Women were only recently granted the right to initiate a divorce, and members of parliament are already fighting to overturn that decision because they claim it’s a violation of Khula Law. Even now, a woman’s right to divorce doesn’t really give her much of an option to leave her husband because she is required to pay back that expensive dowry. It is literally a case of not being able to afford a divorce for most women.
Then there is Afghanistan, where many young girls aren’t even allowed the right to go to school. Back in 1999, the Taliban banned education for girls and now less than 5 percent of girls are even enrolled in school. Of that small percentage, many of them are pulled out of school early and are never allowed to pursue basic education.
All across the globe women are being treated as if they are less than men, when in reality we need to be treated as equals.
While there are some areas that men tend to excel in over women, there are just as many (if not more) areas where women excel over men.
Research has proven that when it comes to money, women are the best at managing money and making wise spending decisions. In fact, the study also revealed that a child’s chance of survival increases by 20 percent when their mother is the one in control of the budget.
Women tend to be much more concerned with the health and nutrition of their family and are more likely to contribute to their child’s economic and social development.
So while we look back to remember the wonderful women who came before us during Women’s History Month, on International Women’s Day we need to take a moment to realize that there are still injustices plaguing women all around the world. In fact, the fight for inequality can never be limited to just one day – the fight has to be ongoing.
Only then will we see a world where women have the right to divorce, drive, education, equal pay, and to even be born in every country across the globe.