So, this morning on social media, I saw these questions asked:
Why do we need International Women’s Day?
Why should we celebrate one gender over another?
Do we need to differentiate? Aren’t we all just the same?
I’d like to give an answer to that, and please hear me out. If you can’t bear to read statistics, although they are important, please jump to the last paragraph for my conclusion.
Aside from the answer that there is in fact an International Men’s Day, and the fact that there’s nothing wrong with celebrating diversity, here are a few reasons why we still need International Women’s Day:
“Around one third of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.”
“In the majority of countries, less than 40 per cent of the women who experienced violence sought help of any sort.”
“In almost all countries with available data, the percentage of women who sought police help, out of all women who sought assistance, was less than 10 per cent. Women’s reluctance to seek help may be linked to the widespread acceptability of violence against women.”
“More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation…”
“Across all sectors and occupations, women on average earn less than men; in most countries, women in full-time jobs earn between 70 and 90 per cent of what men earn.”
“…women are clearly underrepresented in fields related to science, engineering, manufacturing and construction. Women are also underrepresented in the more advanced degree programmes, especially in science-related fields, resulting in fewer women than men in research. Women account for 30 per cent of all researchers—an increase compared to previous decades but still far from parity.”
“Two women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales”
“In the year ending March 2016, 1.2 million women reported experiences of domestic abuse in England and Wales…Whilst this number is shocking, we also know it is grossly underestimated. The cap on the number of violent crimes published, set at five per victim, means that even if a woman experienced 100 incidents of domestic violence, only five would make it into the official data. Thanks to research by Professor Sylvia Walby, we know that were the cap to be removed, the number of incidents of domestic violence would increase by approximately 70%.”
“The CSEW estimated that 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 3.4 million female victims and 631,000 male victims.”
“indecent exposure and unwanted sexual touching was experienced by around three times as many women as men (2.7% compared with 0.8%)”
“fewer than 0.1% of men had experienced rape or assault by penetration (including attempts) compared with 0.9% of women”
“Data from the Home Office Data Hub show that in the year ending March 2017, females were victims in 88% of rape offences recorded by the police, with the remaining 12% males”
“women were far more likely than men to be killed by partners/ex-partners (44% of female victims compared with 6% of male victims)”
“The majority (97%) of the female domestic homicide victims were killed by a male suspect, whereas among men, only around a third of domestic homicide victims were killed by a female suspect.”
If only we were all the same, dear friend. If women could walk down the street, or start a relationship, and feel safe, if women could expect equal pay, if girls could grow up without early sexualisation and objectification of their bodies, if girls as young as 11 weren’t asked why they don’t shave their legs, if women in politics and the public eye could expect not to receive death threats simply for expressing themselves, if the #metoo campaign was not experiencing a backlash of misogynistic hate and victim blaming, if speaking out didn’t result in minimising, mocking and denial, if perpetrators were no longer treated as the victims, if girls like Jade Hameister, the youngest person ever to ski to both the North and South Poles, wasn’t told to ‘make me a sandwich’ (see her awesome response HERE ), then perhaps we could say we don’t need International Women’s Day any more. I look forward to that day.
©Janey Colbourne 2018