Today, if you didn’t know already (which I sincerely hope you did), is International Women’s Day. (Before anyone gets all huffy and say there isn’t an International Men’s Day, don’t worry — there is.) Now, there’s lots of things women are fighting for on this International Women’s Day, and I’ll get to them in a minute. First though, I want to talk about the nature of womanhood and feminism.
As feminism has progressed, it’s leaders — and white feminists in particular — have sometimes failed to fight for an inclusive and encompassing movement that broadly defines womanhood. So just to be clear: feminism encompasses rights for cisgendered women and trans women, and non-binary women too. Feminism supports equality for straight, bisexual, lesbian, pansexual, demisexual, and ace women. Feminism includes and supports the rights of Women of Color. If we don’t agree that intersectional feminism is the feminism we deserve then we’re not doing it right. We can, and should, do better.
So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about today. Today women all across the country (and the world) spoke up in ways big and small, quiet and loud, about their demands for the future. Some women chose to abstain from working (that includes in their place of business and at home, where ‘women’s work’ still abounds), and others who could not skip work wore red and patronized women-owned business in a show of solidarity.
Some people might wonder why thousands of women felt the need to come together and fight in such a visible way. While I couldn’t begin to put together a comprehensive list, here’s a few reasons why women all across America and the globe were fighting the good fight today:
- Because when looking at median income, women make only 79% of what men make.
- Because 1 in 3 women in the US have been victims of intimate partner violence.
- Because 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped.
- Because as of February 27, 2017, 7 trans women in the United States had been murdered (their names are Jaquarrius Holland, Ciara McElveen, Chyna Gibson, Keke Collier, JoJo Striker, Mesha Caldwell, and Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow).
- Because the most commonly perpetrated hate crimes in the US are committed against the LGBT+ community.
- Because compared to other developed countries, the United States has the worst maternity leave policy in the world.
- Because, on average, American families have to spend a minimum of 18 percent of their income on childcare.
- Because spending 18 percent of income on childcare often means that it costs more than rent. As such, many women have to stay at home, whether they want to or not.
- Because under the Republican proposal to appeal the Affordable Care Act, women whose insurance covers abortion won’t be able to use the bill’s tax credits to purchase their coverage.
- Because even though The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion coverage, many people are convinced Planned Parenthood is using those funds anyway.
- Because the maternal mortality rate has more than doubled in the United States since 1990, when it’s fallen most everywhere else.
- Because even though women hold over 52 percent of professional jobs, only 15 percent of corporate executives.
There are many more reasons why women across America took to the streets today. But these 12 facts paint a picture of our America, and why we need to make it better. Girls in our country deserve more. They deserve all the opportunity and safety and security that our generation, and those who came before us, can provide. We owe our girls (cis girls, trans girls, and non-binary girls) more than just the status quo. So while it may not be easy, fighting is sometimes necessary. Fight in whatever way you can. And remember that our fight doesn’t end today. We’re only just getting started.
Day 66: March 8, 2017