Today is International Women’s Day (IWD); a day to globally celebrate the achievements – whether it be social, economic, cultural or political – of women. The day also raises awareness about women’s equality and encourages people to lobby for accelerated gender parity.
Sadly, I’ve already seen some insensitive comments on a Reddit thread that asked for people’s thoughts on IWD, all of which are eerily similar, made by users who seem not to understand what International Women’s Day is about.
One Reddit user wrote, “I have no problem with [IWD]. I just hope that in November the media will make just as big of a deal of International Men’s Day as they do about International Women’s Day. I highly doubt it though,” while another commented, “I have nothing against it I just don’t like the fact that International Men’s Day doesn’t get as much appreciation as Women’s Day.”
Let me put this simply: the reason International Women’s Day is celebrated ‘more’ than International Men’s Day (which is November 19) is because for literally hundreds and hundreds of years women have been treated unfairly. It’s like in Mario Kart; if you’re in first place, you do not need a blue shell (for non-gamers, this blue shell trips up whoever’s in first place for a bit) because, duh, you’re winning. But that blue shell gives other players who aren’t doing so well a chance to catch up.
Attention men: you’re in first place – and have been for quite some time – and IWD is like our blue shell. We need a chance to catch up because, unfortunately, in this day and age we are still facing inequality. For example, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in 2020-2021 women in Australia earned, on average, $25.8K less than men. Yikes.
Other comments on the Reddit thread condemned feminism and one comment even claimed that International Women’s Day is “just used as [an] extra opportunity to demonise and attack men.”
First of all, ‘feminism’ or being a ‘feminist’ does not mean that women think they’re better than men and should be treated as such – it simply means that women want to be treated the same as men; we want equality. I just want to be paid the same amount of money as a man doing the same job and I don’t want to be sexually harassed every time I leave the house… going back to my Mario Kart analogy, women don’t want to beat men to the finish line; we want to tie in first place.
Second of all, International Women’s Day is NOT about ‘attacking’ men. Men do not need to be attacked nor would I condone someone attacking a man any day of the year. Today is simply about educating everyone – no matter their gender – that women do not yet have true equality in our society but that’s something we all should strive for; plus, we also celebrate how far women have come.
So, if you’re of the opinion that International Men’s Day should be celebrated as much as International Women’s Day, – or if you think that IWD is tokenistic – then perhaps, make sure you treat women fairly every single day and do as much as you can (discuss your salary, call out people when they make a sexist joke or comment etc.) to end the inequalities women still face. Once equality is achieved then I’ll happily celebrate International Men’s Day as much as I celebrate International Women’s Day.
However, if you’re of the opinion that there are more important things going on in the world right now (like one Reddit user commented that they’d rather use the day to bring awareness to “something that actually matters”), well, as a society we can bring awareness to several important issues all at once; because I’m sorry, equality for all does ‘actually’ matter.
Just take a look at these brave Ukrainian women who are fighting in the current Russo-Ukrainian War that took a moment to bring awareness to the Russian invasion but also to International Women’s Day too.