This week’s Feminist Friday post is a little late for two reasons:
- Teacups & Typewriters was down for a couple of days and
- I had such a busy week that I wouldn’t have had time to blog even if the site had been up
It’s worked out quite nicely though, because today is Women’s Day!
A couple of years ago I didn’t even know what Women’s Day was – the history and what not. I thought it was just a day where we say, ‘Hey, girls are cool. Buy them stuff.’ So I did a bit of research and wrote the following three years ago:
Having been born long after the events of 09 August 1956, I admittedly had no idea what National Women’s Day actually celebrated.
After doing some research, it turns out that on this day in 1956, some 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the pass laws that required all black people to carry identification with them to prove that they were allowed to enter certain areas designated only to white people.
National Women’s Day now serves as a reminder of the contributions that women have made to South African society as well as the advances in women’s rights.
That’s quite something, right?
A friend recently asked me how I feel about Women’s Day given that it it’s a big hoorah for women but there’s no equivalent day for men and it somewhat contradicts my views on gender equality. She even said, ‘death to chivalry, but yay we have a day’. Nicely put 🙂
So here’s how I feel about that:
Should there be a Men’s Day? Hells yes. How many men have gone to war to protect their countries and families? How many men have been forced into being the breadwinners of their families when perhaps they’d rather be doing something else with their lives? How many men have been moulded to conform to gender roles in the same way that women have (you know, the beefy, hunky, strong male who never cries and never lets down is guard)? Yes, we should celebrate Men’s Day too.
HOWEVER. The lack of a national Men’s day in no way negates the struggle of these brave 20,000 South African women who opposed ridiculous prejudice and won. In no way does it change the fact that women, for centuries (actually, since the beginning of humanity), have been on a back foot in society (not just in South Africa, but across the globe). And in no way does it mean that we shouldn’t celebrate the triumphs that women have made in history and the progress that women have made towards securing greater equality for themselves.
You may yourself feel that you’ve never been a victim of gender bias or sexism, and perhaps you’re lucky enough not to have been. But what about the millions of women who
- aren’t allowed to go to school
- aren’t allowed to drive
- earn 70% or less than what their male counterparts do
- will never climb to the top of the corporate ladder despite how hard they work
- are denied maternity leave and essentially punished for being able to carry a child to life and propagate human existence
- are viewed only a sexual objects
- are judged for showing too much skin or too little
- can’t walk down the street without being cat-called
- are not allowed to make decisions about their own bodies
The list goes on and on.
So that’s my story. I am fiercely proud to be female and I’m passionate about voicing that pride, and I will continue to voice it on behalf of all the women who maybe can’t do it for themselves.
So, today is Women’s Day. How do you feel about that?