The International Women’s Day theme for 2017 is “be bold for change”. Is it inspirational and encouraging? Of course it is. But it must also be viewed as sad because women are still campaigning not just for change, but for simple equality in life, which seems pretty reasonable. The view that women have less to contribute is as prevalent as it is archaic and just last week Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a Polish MEP claimed “women are less intelligent, smaller and should earn less than men”. Women are equally as intelligent as men, which is obvious when you consider that women are campaigning for equality and not the reduction of rights for men.
Being intelligent females, women are quite capable of making their own decisions that impact on their lives. Or so we are led to believe. When it comes to having children, or not to in this scenario, society’s warped reaction is that of shock. If a male CEO in his 40’s doesn’t have children, do you think he is judged the same way as a female CEO who doesn’t have children? For some strange reason, men are not judged the same way as women when it comes to deciding not to have children and it’s viewed as unnatural or selfish. It certainly doesn’t mean women are any less of a woman or are cold or unfilled. It’s simply means a woman made up her own mind (perish the thought) not to have a child and are still filled with love and kindness for other children. Surely if people can accept when a woman decides to have children, then they should accept when a woman decides not to. Women (and men for that matter) should not be put under pressure to make babies yet it’s constant. How often do women hear “ah, sure you just haven’t met the right man”, or “you will regret it when you’re older”? The expectations come from society, pressure from family and friends without any consideration for what an independent woman wants for her own life.
So here’s the ‘be bold for change’ attitude to have from now on, which is a very simple one.
Women should be respected and treated equally as they are women, whether they have children or not.
Fiona Duignan, VMM International’s Short-Term Volunteering Coordinator