Equal Pay and the 2018 International Women’s Day

International Women day 2018_3
Women marching in Spain for the International Women’s Day 2018 (Source: BBC)

Growing up, 8 March also known as International Women’s Day, was always a day of marches. Women will go on marches or parades wearing uniforms, celebrating women. But I never felt like there was a real follow-up to that day. It felt like just another day, or rather a day invented to act as if for once women’s issues were important. I don’t remember much, but it was always a colorful, happy day, with women parading, singing, even sometimes allowed a day off from work or house chores. I don’t remember men doing much except helping women celebrate that day with flows of alcohol in the evenings in bars, or some quick news flash about it, etc. So I was quite surprised and happy to see what the Spanish women did on 8 March this year: protesting and stopping work for the entire day throughout the entire country of Spain, protesting for equal payInternational Women’s Day: ‘Millions’ join Spain strikeMore than 5m join Spain’s ‘feminist strike’, unions saySpain grinds to a halt as millions of women join unprecedented strike. To me, it was beautiful! The entire country was crippled, with public transportation being affected, and even air flights delayed. In South Korea, I saw a picture of men marching alongside women demanding equal pay, and I was moved.

equal pay1The question of equal pay is a global or rather a human question. It does not just affect women, but men as well, and the entire society. Imagine a working couple with a family; imagine what that equal pay to the woman in that couple would do to that couple’s entire income? If women are paid 20% less than men, imagine what 20% more will do to the bills in a family, to the college funds for the kids, to the healthcare, and even to those long overdue family vacations? Now think about single household which are mostly held by women… 20% more is like a lifeline! It is everything! So we should all, men and women, fight for equal pay, instead of acting as if it was a female ‘thing’, because equal pay is a basic human need, and not doing it is an infringement on everybody’s rights out there! My salute to all those Spanish women, this is what International Women’s Day should be all about!

March 8th: International Woman’s Day

African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum)
African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD)

In honor of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, and to celebrate this great day, I thought about this great poem I once read. I dedicate it to the women of Côte d’Ivoire and Libya … of all of Africa, and to all women out there who are making a change, however small it may be. This poem is entitled “WOMAN” by Gold Touch International. Enjoy!

WOMAN

 

Be tough, woman.

Be brave

Go out fearlessly and do the things

That your heart desires to do.

You will be counted in the world.

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you.

Stand up and face the challenges of life,

Squarely in the face, however great

They may be.

Forge ahead and conquer.

March on to the victory that awaits you.

No one will toss victory onto you.

You have to win it yourself.

Carve out a place for yourself in the sun, woman.

Let not fear destroy that great dream of yours.

Don’t fear to be laughed at;

Don’t fear to be criticized;

Don’t fear to fail;

Don’t fear to be thought crazy when you dare

To do the things that others fear to do.

Be tough and march on.

You will conquer, woman.

You have what it takes to

To win all the victories

That your heart desires to win.

Be tough and win.

This is a message from Gold Touch International.