International Women’s Day 2020
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 2, 20 March 2020, page no.27
International Women’s Day has always been a big day for us at the QTU, and this year it felt important to stand together and celebrate the significant wins we have achieved.
It is a day to come together to celebrate all women, in all their diversities. We embrace the intersections of disability, race, faith, ethnicity or sexual and gender identity. We celebrate those who came before us, those who stand beside us now, and those who will come after.
International Women’s Day is a time for everyone to celebrate the progress that women have made towards equality, and to remember how much further there is to go. Feminism is about dismantling all damaging gender stereotypes and roles. Achieving gender equality should be as important for men as it is for women.
Why do we need an International Women’s Day?
Because we’re not there yet.
- 87,000 women are killed every year, just because they are women. Of those, 50,000 are killed by their male partners or family members – and those are only the deaths we know about.
- 111 countries have no repercussions for husbands who rape their wife.
- 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men.
- 14 per cent is the size of Australia’s gender pay gap.
- 45 countries do not have specific laws against domestic violence.
- 35 per cent of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence.
We have come a long way. Once women couldn’t vote, now women are leading countries. Historically, women faced restrictions on where they worked, now women are running corporations. In countries such as Australia, we have rights our grandmothers could only have dreamed about. But we still don’t have complete equality, and the majority of the world’s women aren’t anywhere near as close to that goal as we are.
IWD is an opportunity to remind governments, businesses and anyone else watching that women aren’t going anywhere, and we are prepared to act to achieve our human rights.
The experience of all women is not equal. While some women feel they have not encountered discrimination, harassment or faced systemic barriers to their success, IWD is an opportunity to acknowledge the compounded challenges faced by women of colour, women with disabilities, and queer or trans women, and stand in solidarity with them.
It’s also a show of partnership with our sisters living in countries who may not be able to speak out because of fear for their safety.
On International Women’s Day, we remember that while one woman faces oppression, discrimination or harassment, we all do.
We need to remember we’re not alone. IWD is always a great way to get re-inspired and to remind ourselves there are millions of women standing with us, and we’re all facing – and winning – the same battles.