It was the year 2021 when a politician from my home country said: “I have a wife and a daughter. That makes me a feminist!” No, no, no, that is not how this works.
March 8th is International Women’s Day – an opportunity to ask ourselves – am I a feminist? What does that mean? Is feminism necessary? What can we do to celebrate International Women’s Day?
My shirt says: girls just wanna have fundamental human rights
So, first of all – how to be a feminist?
The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
I want to highlight two platforms where feminist ‘acts’ take place: the everyday and the global perspective. In your everyday life, I would advise anyone, regardless of gender identity, to be more supportive and kinder to one another and put yourself in other people’s shoes. Once we view experiences from the perspective of others we can work towards a more equal and inclusive society.
For me, as a woman, I have experienced assumptions in the everyday workplace, that my size deems me less capable of doing the same work as a male counterpart. Female workers are often considered less strong, less capable, and less robust. This is simply not true. You may know the slogan “Women support women!”. Many do not realise how we can tear each other down sometimes, even though what we should do is lift each other up!
But it does not have to be like this. Try to be more open, clear your mind from assumptions and stereotypes and incorporate this into your daily life, your relationships, your friendships, your gym and your workplace.
Then there are the global problems, like the gender pay gap, no proper education for females and arranged marriages – just to name a few of them. You may feel like you cannot change them but trust me when I say: change starts in small acts and gestures, which ripples into impactful change worldwide. By implementing the everyday changes and challenges mentioned above in your day-to-day life, you can already make a difference.
A more neglected topic in the discussion about feminism is about intersectional feminism. If you want to learn more about intersectionality, you can read this previous blogpost here: What is Intersectionality?
Kimberlé Crenshaw, who shaped the term intersectional feminism, said it is “a prims for seeing the way in which various form of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other”. What she is highlighting is the fact that race inequality is often looked at separately from inequality based on gender. The discussions about feminism are more centered on the white-women’s perspective and is neglecting people of colour. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can visit this UN Women Article.
Fun ways to celebrate
So now you are looking for a fun way to celebrate International Women’s Day, here are some ideas:
- Tell a woman in your life you appreciate her. This could be your mum, your grandma, your sister, your girlfriend, your cousin or just a female friend, literally anyone who identifies as female! Simply tell them you think they are smart and amazing in what they are doing. Do not make this about looks, but about personality.
- Set your intention: Check how you want to treat females in this society and try to live up to it the next week. Maybe think about the point above, how to be an ally to women.
- Shop female: There are several small female led businesses that you could support. An internet research can help you out with this, shop local and shop small this week.
- Have a conversation: Those can be unpleasant and no fun, but you will feel good. Educate yourself on feminism and have a conversation about it with friends or colleagues. Some people mean no harm with their behavior but do not realise, that they are being offensive.
- Do some good: There are many charity organisation in which one can donate especially to girls. This can be menstrual products, school supplies or health care. Even a small donation can help them a long way.
Let me leave you with a quote from the famous feminist judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”