Last Saturday was International Women’s Day and the world took a moment, vialis 40mg collectively, order to come together and recognize the specific and particular histories and socio-political conditions that focus on the lives of women and girls worldwide. An important and significant day worthy of celebration, however, in most places in the world women and girls still struggle for opportunity and equality. Worldwide, there is no equity for women and girls in education, employment, healthcare, economics or justice. Violence against women and girls is at epidemic proportion, so prevalent that it has become normalized and accepted as “just the way things are.” When a young woman cannot walk freely without fear of assault, verbally or physically, or when the rights that women have fought and died for over the decades, like reproductive rights, begin to erode exponentially, we need more than just a day or a month to bring attention to the outrageous statistics that validate the enormity of the problem the entire world faces in relation to its female citizens. When women fight other women over legislation that addresses sexual assault in the U.S. Military Complex, there is something seriously wrong with how women and girls are perceived by men but more importantly by themselves.
The Patriarchy rules the world with such an iron grip, it actually has women doing its bidding and advocating against the interests of other women. Instead of working to deconstruct a patriarchal system that keeps us as second and third class citizens, these women serve the masters that bolster the system and keep the established principles and practices intact. When women fight with women, it diminishes their strength and power and effectively dilutes the influence and collective force of women to be heard, to create advocacy initiatives and build alliances. Of course, we do not all agree. We are of diverse backgrounds, racial groups, ethnicities, religious beliefs, economic and class distinctions, nationalities and sexual orientations, and yet, we all suffer discrimination because of our female-ness, our woman-ness. We do not qualify, without a struggle, to be seen, heard and acknowledged at the table in the same way men are recognized. This past week, Senator Kirstin Gellibrand’s proposed legislation to remove the oversight of sexual assault in the military from the so-called “chain-of-command” so that victims, whether male or female, would feel safe and supported in bringing their cases forward, 17 of the 20 women in the U.S. Senate supported her and 3 voted with their male colleagues to defeat the legislation. Why? Is this an example of voting against one’s own interests and the interests of the underrepresented and marginalized constituents for whom you are supposed to stand? By their “NO” vote, these 3 Senators voted in support of the systems that administrate and maintain public policy that undermine, systemically, the fundamental rights that should be equally available to all citizens, whether male or female.
The courageous women who have given their lives promoting the rights and citizenship of women and girls worldwide should be celebrated this month, and all of us should be inspired to action in tearing down the barriers and impediments to equality in policies, structures, laws and practices that create a world in which the lives of women and girls are in any way diminished. We do not have to agree on every point to have solidarity around equity and justice for All.
Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D.
Founder and Artistic Director
The Conciliation Project and
Virginia Commonwealth University
Up Next Week: Equal Pay and the Workplace