I grew up as a child in a “People’s Democratic Republic” on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. I soon realized that growing up as a woman in this country, this culture, would not be easy. And still, the chance of my life was to be born in an enlightened family, where pioneers, starting with my mother, paved the way for my generation, going to university, working and earning their money. They were, it has to be said though, supported, by their fathers and then their husbands.
Very early on, IWD, celebrated on March 8 in a lot of countries in the world, has been something of an oddity to me. “Women’s day “. On this day, it was usual to bring flowers to our female teachers, who, since women were celebrated on that day, were exempt from class in the afternoon. (Why ½ day only and not a whole day? The mystery remains unresolved). It was the same in all public administrations.
The evening newshow on the only national TV channel (nicknamed “the one & only “) opened on this day of celebration. We could see the State President celebrating the event by visiting schools and hospitals to celebrate the woman, the mother, the pillar of the family (the one under whose feet rests the key to Paradise according to sacred texts).
In short, I was already up and against what I perceived as a masquerade. A day of celebration for 364 (or 365) days of discrimination, inequality and even mistreatment.
35 years later, my feeling of rebellion has subsided. Life has allowed me to have a seat at the table even if I am more than ever aware of the issues facing us, women. Different according to countries and cultures, they have one thing in common: because we are women, we do not yet have access to perfect equality.
Someone recently suggested that if we put in perspective women’s rights evolution according to the history of humanity, it means that we have to be patient. I have also been told that the “reptilian brain” of humanity is still connected to the “hunter-gatherer” brain (while during this time, women gave birth and sew animal skins …). As a consequence, it was necessary to allow time for evolution to move in our favor. Nonsense!
I do not deny the symbolic significance of this day of March 8, allowing us to make “even more noise”, but such symbol typically goes away on March 9. And above all, we want to be heard and seen EVERY day.
Rather than March 8, let us remember that early November (this is true of France), women work for free given the pay gap.
Rather than March 8, let’s not forget that more than 130 million girls worldwide are out of school.
Rather than March 8, let’s remember that only 5% of Nobel prize winners have been women (since the creation of this prize).
Rather than March 8, let us take action against forced marriages, female genital mutilation, femicide, rapes and stoning that still takes place in much of the world.
Rather than March 8, let us fight, when we have the chance to be able to choose our lives, against unequal pay, unconscious bias, discrimination, glass ceiling, harassment, unshared mental load…
I hope that this March 8, when I go shopping, I will not be offered a red rose (very kindly of course) at the cash desk of my neighborhood grocery store because it is “my day”!
And I hope that March 9, as well as all the other days of the year, each and everyone will work together to move forward on the path of true equality and fair treatment.