Why International Women’s Day Is Actually Really Important

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th March every year, to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history and across all nations.

The past year has been one of #MeToo and #Timesup, which became worldwide phenonmenon. A year in which London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the gender pay gap in the capital as “unacceptable” after he revealed figures showing the gender pay gap for all full-time workers in London is 11.9%, compared with 9.6% across the UK.

In 2018, working women in Britain are paid, on average, 9.6 per cent less than men. That effectively means women in the UK work for free from November 6 until the end of the year, just because they have a vagina.

Women have battled for the right to contribute to society in whatever way they see fit – and they have been saving lives, advancing technology, winning Olympic gold medals, writing novels, inventing computer programming, and paving the way for other brilliant, bright women ever since.

And yet, women only constitute 49 of the 579 Nobel prize winners in history, and just 24 of the Fortune 500. That’s fewer than five per cent. We can talk for days about glass ceilings, glass cliffs, daft inequalities, semantics and the injustice of it all. But the statistics speak for themselves. The world is a harsh place in which to be a woman.

Women have suffered, and continue to suffer, with inequality, worldwide and on our very British doorstep!

It’s 2018, we shouldn’t have to protest for equality. And yet we do. because we don’t have gender parity.

Women shouldn’t have to act like men to be treated the same, or act or look a certain way to appeal. It should be a given that two people, of equal ability, regardless of gender, who may or may not react in different ways, be treated the same.

As women, we already put enough pressure on ourselves to live up to society’s expectation of us, to be taken seriously we must have a career, wear makeup and nice clothes, figure out when we want children, and then whether that will affect the careers we’ve spent years forging.

We have to act feminine but not TOO feminine, look nice, but not have put in TOO much effort. To be skinny but still eat, to live up to the standard which Instagram, the media and society in general set us.

Balancing life and being taken seriously is a challenge in itself – being kind but not walked over, but not ‘bossy’ or overbearing, to be able to ‘take a joke’. We’re not allowed to show emotion because it it portrayed as weakness.

It’s infuriating because those whom haven’t experienced this pressure, presume it doesn’t exist. It’s presumed that because we live in 2018, women and men are treated equally, but statistics prove that we are not. Experience and testimonials prove we’re not.

But we are the generation of change.

We are the generation who can bring about equality for men and women. To not pass off sexist, disgusting remarks or normalise being sexualised daily.

We are the generation who will prove that men and women can be equal – and women don’t have to act, look or be a certain way for it to happen.

We are the generation who will strive for equality in ALL aspects of life. Happy International Women’s Day!

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