International Women’s Day is indispensable in today’s world. Although it may seem that the world has made so many steps forward in terms of women’s liberation, there is still a long way to go. Society has been structured in a patriarchal way for so many years that a celebration of women is only fitting each year in the fight to make women and men equal.
Abuses against women’s rights are still extremely prevalent in today’s world.
28 girls a minute are being forced to marry against their will
1 in 3 women will experience violence
181 million girls and young women are not in education/ employment
It’s important to recognize how there can be a male dominated power structure in society and employment. However, feminism itself marks the equality of the sexes and strives to benefit both women and men.
So, what is feminism?
Oxford dictionary defines feminism as the advocacy of the rights of women (based on the theory of equality of the sexes).
Essentially, feminism is the belief in full social, economic, and political equality for women. Feminism largely arose in response to Western traditions that restricted the rights of women, but feminist thought has global manifestations and variations. There has been many layers to the feminist movement and great developments in the women’s liberation movement. Women now have bodily autonomy to get an abortion and the right to vote. There has also been movements in the TV and film industries to stop media being created for the men gaze and to limit the hyper sexualisation of women on screen, which still persists in today’s media.
However, feminism works for all in society. It has meant that relationships are more equal. Men can do domestic tasks or look after the children, whilst the woman works. There has been a definite shift in gender norms over recent years. Feminism has meant that men and women both work which in turn has strengthened the economy. Feminism triggered the FBI to change the definition of rape to include men. It gave men time off work for paternity leave. Feminism helps to destigmatise male mental health, bringing its importance into parody with women’s mental health. Men should be allowed to be who they are, instead of being shamed into being ultra masculine,-suppressing their emotions and being afraid to be feminine. Society has changed in an amazing way but there is a long way to go.
I think it’s important to recognise the differences in the struggles black or minority women face in comparison to white feminists. The advances for women aren’t necessarily equal in all countries/ for all races and so we need to continue this fight.
Even here in Northern Ireland, there are still instances of inequality for women. In support of international women’s day, NISRA published some statistics about women in employment. There were some worrying patterns.
• Employment rate for females in NI has been consistently lower than for males over the past ten years. The difference is driven by lower self-employment rates for women compared to men. The number of self-employed males in 2021 was more than two and a half times the number of self-employed females.
• Females were less likely to work full-time than males. Furthermore, approximately 60% of employed women with dependent children worked full-time, compared to 94% of employed males with dependent children.
• The largest gender pay gap across all age groups occurred in the 50 to 59 age group, where men earned almost £2.50 more per hour than women (£15.33 compared to £12.87).
• Although the female economic inactivity rate has been declining in recent years in 2021, just under a third of working age women were economically inactive, compared to just under a quarter of men. Economic inactivity rates for females have been consistently higher than males.
I hope this blog post has been informative in explaining a little bit more about feminism and why it is so important to us at You Glow Girl. By supporting women and their ideas and by supporting women’s charities, we are one step closer to a more equal world.