Cards won’t be exchanged around the city this Sunday (March 8) on International Women’s Day, and that’s all right.
Because it’s the thought that counts – thought and action and change.
International Women’s Day is observed to varying degrees around the world, most markedly in eastern Europe, where celebrations include cards, flowers, gifts and good deeds. We could do the same here, but then again, another Valentine’s Day or another Mother’s Day might muddy the message. Hopefully we already acknowledge our love and affection for our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, wives and girlfriends.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention each year when women’s day comes up on the calendar. Women’s issues are humankind’s issues, and we should forever strive for gender equality.
This occasion is a chance to carry on a conversation, one that could lead any number of ways. The official United Nations women’s day theme for 2015 is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity, and a major UN initiative right now is the He For She campaign urging men and boys to advocate for women and girls.
The UN’s themes should get us thinking and talking, and there is no shortage of other topics. Missing and murdered indigenous women come to mind, and gender violence in general. We’re seeing cavalier attitudes toward date rape and sexual assault on Canadian college campuses and elsewhere. In a society that is still so atavistic, it’s more difficult to even start talking about more modern issues like gender disparity in politics and corporate boardrooms.
It shouldn’t be difficult. Because those women we mentioned a few paragraphs back, mothers, daughters, sisters, etc., those are the ones for whom we’re advocating, too.