So last Friday was International Women’s Day.
As well as celebrating the magnificence of women it was a day to channel all the energy this planet can summon to further advocate and enhance the rights of women. It’s about coming together, standing up, speaking out. Women and men together saying “this is not okay. In 2019 we should’ve come further than this.”
And we really should.
This is why ….
1/3 of women globally have or will suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime
603 million women live in countries were domestic violence is NOT a crime.
There are approx 757 million illiterate adults in the world and 2/3 of them are women
There are 2.7 BILLION women who are still, to this day, legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men.
But this is all overseas right? Wrong.
In this “lucky country”, 1 in 6 women have experienced physical or sexual violence. 1 in 4 have suffered emotional abuse and 1 in 5 have been sexually assaulted or threatened. Lucky is a relative term I guess.
But I am lucky. I don’t consider myself to be one of these statistics. However, in “first-world” world I have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace and it was not nice.
In context of the stats above, it needs to be acknowledged that no one was harmed in the making of my experience except I was left pretty embarrassed. You see, a long time ago in a galaxy far far far away I used to work for a very large company. I had several roles with them over the years but in one particular one I discovered quite by chance that I was being paid 30% less than my male predecessor. Not his fault, he didn’t know. But my boss …. SHE knew. Yes you read that right. She.
This was a publicly listed company who purports to be a champion of equal opportunity. I don’t think anyone made the conscious decision to judge me on my gender. But I do believe that they subconsciously saw an opportunity to save some dollars because I am female.
So what would’ve driven my female boss to tolerate this discrepancy in the first place? I think it was simple apathy (with a touch of laziness thrown in for good measure). My situation simply didn’t affect her and her bubble and she assumed I would never find out.
It’s fair to say we all live in a bubble. We know what is going on in the world but whilst we are unaffected by it, we rarely take time to consider what, if any, action we can or should take.
Well, no more.
Now is the time to start more conversations with your family and friends, male and female. Make these conversations part of your daily life. Call people out on their discrimination, encourage others to do the same. Give these issues the prominence they deserve on the world stage. Have a voice at the polls. Join the movement that will allow women worldwide to at least have a seat at the table.
If you are a female reading this, do not expect gender equality to land in your lap. You may think it’s a right but you still need to, and should, fight for it. For yourself, your friends, your daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces and if you are empowered to do so, your employees.
When male or female, we all have the right to feel safe in our homes and in our communities. We all have the right to equal rights under the law and equal opportunities to be judged on our merits and not our gender.
Rant not nearly over ….