Today, being International Women’s Day I thought it fitting to not only embrace the power of women but to also acknowledge how far we still have to go. From my own perspective over the past few years I have noticed more and more of my female friends using the phrase, ‘strong independent woman.’ Whether that be in preparation for a job interview, a response to a recent break-up or in regards to taking part in a male dominated sport such a boxing, it makes be proud to realise that women, as a gender, are referring to themselves in this way.
However, as much as I would like to ignore this fact, women continue to be treated as an inferior sex by the male population and within the workplace. Why do men feel like it is acceptable to cat-call at women in the street whatever they may be wearing? Why do men still feel that hitting a woman exerts power and control over them? Why in 2017 are women still being paid less than men? Yes, women have progressed significantly in so many different aspects over the past 50 years in regards to equality and respect.
However, we still have a long way to go. The BBC realised stats in January of this year highlighting that the gender pay gap for full time workers in the UK sits at 9.4% whilst for all types of contracts it stands at 18.1%. It worries me to think that in this modern era women are still subordinate to men within the workplace. Moreover, domestic violence continues to be at a high in the UK. With one woman being killed every three days as a result of domestic violence, something serious needs to be done, and soon (Office of National Statistics, 2015). According to the Home Office in 2002, the police received a domestic assistance phone call every minute in the UK, yet only 35% of all domestic violence incidents are reported. This highlights the extremity of the situation the UK is undergoing at the moment, women are struggling to report incidents of violence and somehow we need to find a way to solve the issue of speaking out and also more importantly, of stopping domestic violence for the long run.
From another perspective I also want to reiterate that in my personal opinion, feminism is not ‘man-hating’. Feminism to me is equality amongst the sexes. It is an acceptance that women are fully capable of what men can do and vice versa. I do not think that it is acceptable that women can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave whilst the father can only take a mere 2 weeks’ paternity leave. This is an example of my take on feminism, women and men need to be treated equally, in order for discrimination on both sides of the coin to be extinguished. Ultimately, on International Women’s Day, both men and women should acknowledge the power of the female gender and the progression we have made as a sex in the past decades. It should be a day of appreciation of what we have achieved and what we plan to achieve in the near future. As I said, feminism in my eyes is a notion for gender equality and although we are not close yet, I believe that through continuous strength, power and determination we will get there. #BeBoldForChange