Every year on the 8th of March, people from across the world celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a day where the achievements of women are, for once, placed front and centre. Where incredible women who have often been overlooked are finally given their moment, their chance to be recognised for their contributions to the world. Furthermore, it is a day where, as a society, we take action to make gender equality a reality. The theme for this year’s celebration is Choose to Challenge. A call to all to confront the misogyny and sexism present in current society. Everyone has a part to play in achieving that aims. Yet how exactly do we this?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Educate yourself
In 2021, ignorance as an excuse for sexist behaviour is becoming a little bit unacceptable. In a time where information is literally at your fingertips almost 24/7, why is it that you have not taken the time to look up acceptable behaviours? Furthermore, at a period where sexist behaviour is often depicted in the shows and the wider media that we all consume, why have not you taken it on board and applied to your own life? That is not to say that mistakes are unforgivable, we are all human and therefore, imperfect. However, the educating yourself on a topic in this day and age is a perfectly doable solution that hurts no one and has a uniquely positive effect on society.
2. Speak up!
Having the confidence to speak up and confront that which bothers you is not a skill that everyone possesses- trust me, I know! However, it is crucial that your voice is heard, your gripes aired, your complaints acknowledged and acted on. You must take that step to confront those sexist remarks or attitudes for this will push forward the gender equality agenda and force change. Additionally, confronting sexism need not be a lonely task, confide in your friends and colleagues. Ask for their support for a problem shared is problem halved, making the confront that tiny bit easier.
3. Put yourself forward
Do not be discouraged from putting yourself in environments that are seen as traditionally male spaces. It is time to banish this notion that what you can and cannot do is tied to you gender and go for it! Admittedly, it will not be easy, you may face prejudice, microaggressions and discriminatory behaviour. However, do not let this stop you. Remember you have every right to be there. The world needs more women trailblazers and role models, why not you?
So, I am aware that these suggestions will not change the world overnight, nor are they the most revolutionary ideas that no one has ever heard of before. But think of these as steppingstones in the right direction. Also, make sure that every day you #choosetochallenge.
Misogyny: prejudice against or hatred for women and girls.
Sexism: discrimination of a person based on their gender or sex.
Microaggressions: subtle actions or comments, often unintentional or indirect, towards a marginalised group that are instances of discriminatory