March 8th is International Women’s Day. This day is part sweet and part sour. Sweet because it is a day to celebrate and appreciate women – past, present and future. Sour because it is a reminder that despite the progress witnessed over the years, women are still fighting the same battles. It’s saddening that women are constantly treated like objects who lack agency.
Women are human beings and should be treated as such. Surely, in 2013, are we yet to realize that?
There are those who think that in advocating for our rights, we, as women, simply want equality. Its more than that. While women’s equal participation is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. We should not look at the number of women holding positions of power as the only basis of progress. The progress needs to be all encompassing – spilling over from the political to the economic and social.
We are not asking for pity or to be given special treatment. We simply want to be treated as the human beings that we are. We want to be accorded our rights without having to fight and struggle for their recognition and respect. We want to be able to voice our opinions without being silenced or the fear that someone will say, “you are trying to be a man.” We want to be able to make decisions without being told that our ambitions and aspirations will intimidate men. For us, it’s more than just a desire to have economic empowerment, it’s about getting economic justice. We want active socio-economic and political inclusion. We do not want passive inclusion that is only geared towards meeting quotas and promoting diversity.
Most of all, we want to feel safe and secure in our own bodies.
For the record, I think that women should be celebrated every day because we hold half the sky and give birth to the ones who hold the other half.
To me, IWD is more than just an opportunity to recognize women, it’s a call for solidarity. That we were all at one point or another warmly nested in a woman’s womb, is reason enough for everyone to get on the “Let’s end all forms of violence against women” train.
Women’s rights are human rights.