Today is women’s day in South Africa, and after a discussion with a friend of mine as to why we still celebrate this day, I decided to dig a little deeper, because to be honest, it was a discussion had by 2 individuals that were well…clueless. After researching how in 1956, more than 20 000 women of different races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws , I decided to do some more research on gender equality in this country as well as the world around us, as this was something else we had discussed and it was heavily laid on my heart to find out more.
You know, for all that we have accomplished in the 21st century, our greatest downfall is how well we have managed to hide just how broken this world really is. Gender equality has by no means been achieved in this country, and if you do some of your own research, I believe you’ll find that there are very few countries where women feel truly safe and accepted in the society in which they live. This is by no means a let’s hate men and blame them for everything type of post. I have no plans to burn my bra and declare war on the men of this world, but I am a feminist in its correct definition.
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
Unfortunately, using the phrase feminist has become a dirty word. And so I prefer to say that I am an egalitarian.
believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
Gender equality is not a woman’s issue, but a human one. It affects us all. And so, though I am grateful for what those women did in the 50s, and I think it is awesome that each year we get to celebrate something so beautiful and courageous; my reason for celebrating women’s day is a different one.
I celebrate women’s day because though I may be free, there are so many women who aren’t. The world’s statistics on this is heart breaking. In India, though the Caste system has been abolished, it is still very much in play. Dalits, labelled the Untouchables, are treated cruelly and face an inhuman way of living, simply because they were born into a lower class life based on extreme poverty. A crime against Dalits happens every 18 minutes — 3 women raped every day, 13 murdered every week, 27 atrocities every day, 6 kidnapped every week . Dalit women experience triple discrimination based on their caste, their economic situation and their gender. 70% of Dalit women are illiterate in rural India and thousands of girls are forced into prostitution before they reach puberty .
In South Africa, the statistics aren’t much better. It is estimated that every 26 seconds a woman is raped in South Africa. About 61 percent of women live in poverty, and 31 percent live in destitution, compared with 39 percent and 18 percent of men .
I’ve had a tough time writing this post. While I was researching I felt so hopeless and helpless, and at a loss as to what to do. My intention is not to ruin your day. I woke up this morning feeling so special and proud to be a woman and I want you to feel that too, but we also can’t pretend what is happening in the world isn’t real, because it is. These aren’t just statistics, there are people suffering on the other side of these numbers and percentages. It is time to live loudly, and to speak up for truth and to be bold and fight the injustices of this world. I have been living like an ostrich, with my head in the sand recently. Because I didn’t know what to do, it was easier for me to ignore it, and I get it, because I still have no idea what to do. But, maybe it’s ok to feel the pain and heartbreak of this, rather than feigning ignorance. I am somewhat relieved to have the veil removed from my eyes, the veil that has been placed there by the world, the veil that causes one to turn a blind eye, to pretend it’s not real, and the one that makes you think that you can’t do anything so why try at all. Don’t be like me, don’t run from this. Remove your head from the sand and live loudly.
To the women: You are so loved by the One who created you. Each and every one of us has been placed on this earth for a purpose. Embrace who you are, celebrate who you are and be proud to be a woman! We are all so uniquely beautiful…so far from average, though I know that is what the media has led us to believe. Don’t give in to the lies anymore, don’t try and fit into the mould of the apparent perfect woman, it’s not real. You are perfectly imperfect, and wonderfully different, and today I celebrate you…won’t you join me?