Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Actually, Every Day is A Day Without a Woman

Tomorrow is International Women's Day, and there's a lot of controversy this year surrounding the general strike--organized by the same folks who organized the Women's Marches in January. Loosely paraphrased, the idea is that women will stay home from work or otherwise rally on March 8 to raise awareness about the impact women make in the workforce and society. 

There are lots of heated arguments both for and against this idea, but I don't want to get into any of them in this post. Personally, I don't have a strong opinion on this strike either way, and I don't intend to participate in it, mostly for practical reasons. 

Rather, I would just simply point out that actually, EVERY day in the United States is a day without a woman.

Every day, the average woman in the United States makes significantly less money than her male counterpart for the same work.

Every day, a woman in the United States is raped or sexually assaulted and robbed of her physical and psychological autonomy and dignity.

Every day, American mothers have to choose between bonding with their infants and keeping their jobs because paid maternity leave is almost non-existent.

Every day, teenage girls look at magazines, in the mirror, and back again and despair that they will never measure up to the impossible, always out-of-reach ideals of Photoshop and the industries that keep them addicted to staying young and beautiful from puberty through menopause and beyond.

Every day, female students in STEM classes look for strong female role models and don't always find them, perhaps discouraging them from entering heavily male-dominated fields.

As a result, all of American society loses. So yeah, by all means, use tomorrow to raise awareness about women's issues however you can, if, like me, you care about them. 

Just remember, we don't need a strike to create a day without a woman. We already have that, every day. Until systemic gender inequity is resolved in a meaningful way, women simply cannot and will not be the whole, complete, contributors to society they are capable of being. They are too busy devoting a significant percentage of their energy to fending off physical and mental assaults and gender-based micro-aggressions.

And as long as that's true, every day in the United States is a day without a woman. 

Tomorrow won't change that, but for my daughter's sake, I hope that one day, the collective energy and productive rage of those who want things to be different will.

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