Today is International Women's Day and that means it's a whole year since I discussed why feminism was still a dirty word. 2014 was a good year for women- Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel peace
prize at only 17, progress has been made in the fight against FGM and for women of around my age it became almost fashionable to call yourself the F word.
On the other hand, we seem to have almost forgotten about over 200 kidnapped Nigerian school girls, who were stolen by Boko Haram for nothing more than trying to get an education. In the UK our
wage gap is still huge and although Emma Watson made a great speech in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, we still have stupid celebrities like Evangeline Lilly who states...
"I’m very proud of being a woman, and as a woman, I don’t even like the word feminism because when I hear that word, I associate it with women trying to pretend to be men, and I’m not interested in trying to pretend to be a man. I don’t want to embrace manhood, I want to embrace my womanhood."
Nice one. We still have a good way to go. Here's the article...
This is where it is celebrated across the world...
Holiday for women
Non-official holiday (gifts for women)
|Chaing Mai (these noodles were delicious)|
Wikipedia Definition:"Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women."
Even the stuffy Oxford Dictionary agrees that Feminism is- "The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."
If the definitions above are correct then surely everyone should consider themselves to be a feminist (regardless of gender) as somebody who believes both sexes to be equal or face the alternative label: 'sexist'.
Unfortunately, the media isn't always so supportive of this view...
In a recent interview Lily Allen says that she hates the word Feminism and suggests that “We’re all equal, everyone is equal. Why is there even a conversation about feminism? What’s the man version of feminism? There isn’t even a word for it. Menanism. Male-ism. It doesn’t exist.”
Apparently the worst problems that women-kind now face are bitchy comments and the judgmental attitudes of other women- "It’s much the same [as it used to be]. But I don’t think men are the enemy. I think women are the enemy."
You can read some extracts in the Independent here.
Maybe she would label me as one such bitchy female, but I find it extremely frustrating for somebody in such a privileged position to suggest that the work for women's rights movements is over.
We're all equal now! Horray!
This seems like an appropriate place to insert a small selection of statistics...
(I'm sorry for the excessive referencing, but I don't want anyone to think I'm pulling numbers out of the air.)
|Tiny children in Laos.|
- Violence against women and girls is a prolific problem . At least 1 in 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her. (General Assembly. In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary General, 2006. A/61/122/Add.1. 6 July 2006)
- Globally, 10 million more girls are out of school than boys. (Calculated from data contained in the UN’s The Millennium Development Goals report 2007, New York: 2007, p11)
- In Sierra Leone, the number of incidents of war-related sexual violence among internally displaced women from 1991 to 2001 was as high as 64,000. (Vlachova, Biason. Women in an Insecure World. Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. 2005).
- In Rwanda, up to half a million women were raped during the 1994 genocide. http://www.womankind.org.uk/about/why-women/statistics/
- Women account for nearly two thirds of the world’s 780 million people who cannot read. (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Adult Literacy Rates and Illiterate Population by Region and Gender,” 2006)
- Globally, women make up just 17% of parliamentarians. (UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2007, UNICEF, New York: 2006, p.56)
- Up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking, or other violence each year. http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/data/files/resources/38/realising_rights-jul-08.pdf
- Almost 1 in 3 girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school. http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/preventing-violence-against-women
- 36% of people believe that a woman should be held wholly or partly responsible for being sexually assaulted or raped if she was drunk and 26% believe this if she was in public wearing sexy or revealing clothes. http://www.huiselijkgeweld.nl/doc/english/violence-against-women-poll_2009.pdf
- The full time gender pay gap is 10%, and the average part-time pay gap is 34.5%. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/nov/22/gender-pay-gap-falls-full-time-workers and http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/research/gender_pay_gap_briefing_paper2.pdf
- It is estimated that the UK would gain up to £23 billion (the equivalent to 2% of GDP) by better harnessing women’s skills in employment. http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=834
If that isn't enough statistics for you have a look here http://ukfeminista.org.uk/take-action/facts-and-statistics-on-gender-inequality/
If you are (understandably) tired of statistics, you might like to have a look at the The Every Day Sexism Project, which encourages people of both sexes to write in about their experiences of sexism. It includes everything from name calling in the street and discrimination at work to accounts of violence and rape.
This, Lily, is why we're having a conversation about feminism.
Happy International Women's Day.
P.S. I'm sorry if I have accidentally alienated any of my readers. Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments below (although I might not like you if you're rude).
You might enjoy this account of one of the strongest most resourceful women I know... Casa Aida: a story to restore your faith in humanity.