Fighting with the Sky

Happy International Women's Day!

Posted on: March 8, 2010

This year, the United Nations has decided that the theme for International Women’s Day is “Equal rights, equal opportunity: Progress for all.”

Gender Across Borders has encouraged us to think about what “equal rights for all” means to us.  This seems like a simple question, right?  But once you actually sit down and try to think about it, it’s kind of a complicated question.  It should be pretty simple, you would think: give everybody equal rights.

But in a patriarchal, racist, classist, ableist, heterosexist culture such as the one that I am familiar with (the United States), equal rights is not such an easy concept for people to grasp.  Equal rights as they are understood by the government now, are still mainly just equal rights for white, middle/upper class, heterosexual men.

So what would I like to see in actually implementing the ideal of equal rights for all?

  • equal pay for equal work: women still make 70 cents to every dollar than men make.
  • equal access to health care for everyone, not just the rich: in order to function in society, people have to have access to quality health care that is appropriate for each individual, including reproductive health care
  • equal access to education: if everyone has the same access to education, other barriers will start to fall down as well
  • marriage equality: anyone that wants to get married, should be able to get married
  • comprehensive sex education for everyone: people need to know how to make the right decisions for themselves with regards to their sexuality and this will only happen if everyone has access to comprehensive sex education
  • end all violence against women: including (but not limited to) rape, domestic violence, genital mutilation, human trafficking.

These are all things that would be put into effect by the government or societal institutions, but these are not just enough.  In order for these things to really take effect, cultural views of women, people of color, people with disabilities, trans people, gay and lesbian people will all have to change.  And this is where it gets tough, because prejudice is deeply rooted in USian culture; people are going to give it up easily.  It’s also important to keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list; these are only some starting blocks and stepping stones.

Also make sure to check out Gender Across Borders’ Blog for IWD BLOG!

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