Why I’m Celebrating International Women's Day and Why You Should Be Too

Image credit: Unsplash

Image credit: Unsplash

Alex Turner-Cohen discusses why everyone should celebrate International Women’s Day, whether you’re male or female.

“What, you’re a feminist?” my friend says. His eyes visibly widen, pupils dilated with shock, as if he’s a character straight out of a comic book.

Today is International Women’s Day. In light of the gender pay gap, one woman dying every week in Australia from domestic violence, and the ongoing #Metoo movement, IWD is an important way to remember how far women have come, and how far we’ve got to go.

The global awareness day has been going on for years (since 1911), but I find 2019’s theme more compelling than most. The theme is Balance for Better. To me, that means one thing. Equality. Everywhere. In the workplace, at home, on the streets. In other words, feminism.

Feminism is not a dirty word. It is not asking for men to clear out their desks and let women take over, nor is it pushing for women to be paid more than their male counterparts.

Today is not about dragging men down. Instead, it’s lifting women up.

Ultimately, there are four ways to celebrate IWD, no matter what your gender is.

Have a think.

Have a little think about when you’ve ever experienced sexism, and even when you may have dished it out. Realising your own errors, or someone else’s in an everyday interaction, can help break through casual and subtle sexism. Everyone has their own unconscious biases, and thinking and reflecting on this is the way to put an end to it.

Raise awareness.

Raise awareness. Mention the day to your friends. Read news articles, hop on social media, maybe even retweet something. Adding your voice to the conversation will make a difference.

Attend the march.

This Saturday, people will march through the streets of Sydney to achieve #BalanceForBetter. If you’re a guy, there is no better way than to show your support by coming along. You will be welcomed with open arms. If you’re interested, the protest starts at 11am at Hyde Park.

Be proud to admit you’re a feminist.

Don’t be shy to speak up in conversation and identify yourself as a feminist. All it means is that you want gender equality. Some of my friends are surprised when they hear I’m a feminist. Maybe now they’ll understand why I’m surprised when they say they’re not.

Alex Turner-Cohen is a first-year Journalism student. She is an aspiring novelist, who loves being right and has two pugs called Coco and Cino.