It’s International Women’s Day. Men are you listening?

Mmmm it’s International Womens Day today. What exactly is that? I suppose being a woman I should celebrate it, but it has made me uneasy. When we celebrated Mothers day here in Ireland last Sunday it was all about celebrating motherhood, giving credit to mothers of the world for what they do every day, and allowing those loved by them to take the time to let them know they are appreciated and loved. Come June we will do the same for Fathers.

Why is International Womens Day different? Why is it not a day when we celebrate all that is wonderful about being a woman, and why can’t men use it to acknowledge the contribution women make to the world, to let the women in their lives, their sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers know they are appreciated and loved?

There is without a doubt bias, prejudice and discrimination in society towards women, but I can’t help but feel listening to radio today, that women were being pandered to, wheeled out on radio and television shows to mark the day, allowed to vent their frustrations at society, but for what purpose? Just to tick a box? To allow a producer to say they did their bit for Women’s day?

I hate it.

Personally I think it’s a waste of time. It reminds me of the supposed ‘mummy wars’, stay at home mothers versus working mothers, the arguments between them, manufactured within the media, spark debate and often create a divide between two groups who have so much in common. Just like the supposed war that is men versus women.

Personally I couldn’t live without men in my life. My father was one of a kind, my brothers mean the world to me, my husband is my greatest friend and my son a young man who makes me proud. These men make my world a better place and I can’t help but wonder if today was spent appreciating the role of women in the world it might actually make a real difference.

Sometimes the more you shout the less people listen. Show don’t tell.

Disclaimer… All opinions my own but my husband agrees with me. I told him to.

photo credit: hebedesign via photopin cc

33 thoughts on “It’s International Women’s Day. Men are you listening?

  1. Tric, how could you? I mean really, you should know better…

    Father’s Day is June, not August.

    A refreshing post. I’m uneasy with the creeping assumption that inequality is the preserve of wimmin. It’s not. And many men are disenfranchised by the patriarchy also. OK GOT THAT. Some obligatory anger there. It’s all the rage.

    1. Ah yes of course it is, my dad’s birthday is August so that’s why i remembered that incorrectly!
      I too feel that women shout louder than men about inequality, but then I wonder are they right? Maybe I’m not helping the cause of women?
      Don’t feel the obligatory anger, but maybe it’s because I’m happy in my world and many aren’t, and then I feel annoyed for feeling guilty.

      1. I think there’s a place for it to be shouted, but I prefer it asserted repeated on a calm and rational basis over a sustained period of time. The inequalities facing wimmin are stark; it’s just that men are also victims of the hierarchy. I’m an unapologetic feminist, but I can’t help feel that IWD is fast becoming the wrist-band equivalent of protest. There’s a thin line between illuminating the issues, and dumbing them down. It’s possible to be a feminist and be left feeling cold by it. At least I hope it is. Because, homogenising us only ever goes so far where I’m hunched. Well, lying in a semi-bitter state actually.

  2. Much of what I heard today for International Women’s Day concentrated on areas of the world where women and girls are subject to abuse, violence, lack of opportunity, and other huge problems. Forced early marriage, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual assault as a method of control or a weapon of war, lack of educational opportunity, the list is long. Yes, more developed countries still have inequality, but in some places, women and girls are dying or living terribly restricted lives. That is why we need to observe International Women’s Day.

    1. I heard many arguments/ discussions today too but I feel the naming of the day as International womens day is not actually helpful. It is too broad and in my opinion it would be much more effective to dedicate a day specifically to the marginalising and discrimination women experience worldwide.
      I think the people we are speaking to are men and the day becomes an us versus them argument about small things instead of the huge injustices worldwide.
      Perhaps it does make men think, but from the arguments I heard yesterday I didn’t think so.
      In our own country there are still many wrongs against women even withing legislation, but I’m not sure yesterday made any Irish man think about that.

  3. Father’s day is June at least here it is lol. I like the last line…because I told him to. LOL
    I agree with you we need to respect women not one day but everyday.Women are a big part of my life and I was always taught to protect and defend the women in the house in that case my mother and my sisters and when I had a family my wife and my daughter. The best way to chance people’s ideals about how to treat women is to see it in action. My father and mother argued but he never hit her never put his hands on her and there wasn’t even the hint of did you hear dad hit mom kind of talk. That made a huge impression on me growing up and it taught me how to respect women.

    1. Yes indeed I thought a lot about that while writing my post yesterday. My girls learn so much by watching how I interact with their dad and how he treats me and them. I also took time out to think about my own son and how he treats women in his world and at work. Teaching and showing him respect for women, in a way, changes the world we live in. Our small contribution to a new world, I hope.

  4. I’m actually so disappointed to read this. I normally would never comment like this on someone else’s blog post, but I really feel I can’t let this go. International Women’s Day IS about celebrating women and all that is great about women and their achievements in the worlds of art, sciences, music etc etc. It’s also however about highlighting the enormous inequalities that exist between men and women. This is no supposed war, it’s very much the reality. We could not and should not celebrate how great women are, without also acknowledging the very real struggle that millions of women around the world face on a daily basis. (It’s not about ‘doing without’ the men in our lives either, no where in any of the literature about IWD is this even suggested and I think that’s really disingenous of you to suggest that.) It’s not about men, it’s about women. We live in a world where women are second class citizens and you might not see that in your own life but it’s true for so many millions of women worldwide. The women who still can’t vote, who are kept out of school and denied an education while their brothers go to university, who are married at 12 to men 30 years their senior, who die in their millions in childbirth due to unsanitary birthing conditions, who are not allowed to drive, to wear trousers, who are imprisoned for 40 years for having a miscarriage. All of this – and much much more – happen to women and are inflicted upon women day after day year after year simply due to their being women. Even in developed countries like Ireland where we are denied our reproductive rights, where my husband can walk into the local GP practice down the road and have a vasectomy, free on the medical/GP card, and permanently take care of his reproductive rights, but if I want a tubal ligation it’s a matter for discussion and a panel of doctors decides if I’m ‘allowed’ to have it. In Ireland where there is still a pay gap between men ad women – it’s small, but it’s very real. We’ve been calm and rational and reasonable about this for years, for decades for CENTURIES. We’ve done that, and still the studies show that women will achieve parity with men in the year 2133, still more than another one hundred years from now. I’m not willing to wait that long and you shouldn’t either. It’s time to shout about it. It’s time. Also to note that while IWD is the offiicial ‘day’ of the movement it’s also a global partnership organisation with companies/organisations/individuals pledging to make the world a more equal place every day of the year, working together to stop things like child marriages (which also affect boys) and female genital mutiliation and prison sentences in south America for women who have miscarriages, working with aid agencies and with local groups on the ground to turn all of that around. And for anyone asking, International Men’s Day is November 19 and has been for many many many years now. I hope to see you all on your social media on November 19, discussing things like father’s rights, male rates of suicide, male rape, which are all huge problems that men face and that are discusses on IMD – but somehow I doubt I will. For some reason we still seem to hear more about men and mens issues on International Women’s Day than any other day of the year. God forbid women have a day about them and their very real struggle. God forbid!

    1. I think you have misinterpreted my take on International Women’s Day. The point I am making is that it is not possible to celebrate all women AND campaign for equality AND speak about the rights of women who are marginalised and discriminated against, all on the one day. I don’t believe it works, and your last sentence is exactly why I think it doesn’t work, ‘For some reason we still seem to hear more about men and mens issues on International Women’s Day than any other day of the year’.
      I am saying have a day for women where we celebrate our amazing contribution to the world but have a separate day dedicated to the reality of the plight of women worldwide. That would give a very clear agenda for the day as in it’s current form I don’t think it’s achieving all it could.
      My reason for coming to that conclusion was the many programmes I listened to yesterday where women tried to make many points and the interviewing men missed most of them or tried to offer an alternative argument, often not even relating to the points being made,stating that men now do share childcare and chores and felt the arguments unfair.
      I appreciate your argument but lets be clear I do not believe women should not speak out or be celebrated. I do not believe women are not marginalised or discriminated against. I simply do not believe International Women’s Day in it’s current form is the way to highlight it most effectively.

      1. But don’t you see? The interviewing men ‘missed most of them or tried to offer an alternative argument’ is EXACTLY the reason we need IWD! It’s the REASON why, because they still talk over us, they still insert themselves into our conversation, they still try to take over. This is exactly the reason we need a day like IWD. I don’t agree that separating the two is a good idea – one day for celebrating women, another for talking about their plight – because the two go hand in hand, they are intertwined, you can’t discuss one without the other. You can’t discuss FGM for example, without pointing to the wonderful women on the ground in countries in Africa who have banned it in their villages. You can’t talk about the woman who’s won a book award without also mentioning that she’s the first woman to have won it in 20 years, for example. The two go together, that’s the POINT of IWD. And like I said then, the day is just the ‘face’ of the campaign as it were, the real work continues throughout the year, celebrating women AND pointing to the inequalities.

        1. And my last line about hearing more about men on International Women’s Day is because men cannot bear the fact that we have one day for ourselves. One day. They have the floor all year round, but the minute, the SECOND it turns midnight on March 8, they’re in whining and crying their menz tears that the conversation isn’t about them. Yet on November 19 they are nowhere to be seen. On a day designated to really highlight problems that men face, they’re nowhere to be seen, it’s much less of a movement than IWD. Because men would rather cry about women having a day to themselves than celebrate their own day.

        2. That’s the point for women, but we are speaking with men who for the most part, as far as I can see, don’t listen at present, so I think it would work better done differently.
          As I said, I’m not saying don’t do both, all I’m saying is men are not listening and perhaps it would achieve more if done differently.
          At the end of the day it was an opinion piece as that is my thoughts on it, they are neither right nor wrong, just my thoughts.

        3. They don’t listen so we should change the way we do things? Nah! They don’t listen because they benefit from a patriarchal society and they’re loathe, absolutley loathe, to give it up. So they interrupt and insert themselves into our conversations and beat us down and make it all about the menz. All. About.The. Menz. Day after day year after year. I’m tired of it. The reality is they’re going to have to listen, we’re forcing them to listen. I’m not lying down any more, I’m not changing myself for a male dominated society any more. It was an opinion piece and you are of course entitled to that opinion just as I’m entitled to challenge that opinion. I’m disappointed that that’s all you got out of IWD, it really is such a celebration, it’s a pity you feel this way about it.

        4. The way you see men and see the best way to change the way things are is probably exactly why we will never see eye to eye on this matter. I think there is more than one way to skin a cat and I’d see the solution to men not listening very differently to ‘forcing them to listen’.
          As for yesterday being a celebration of women I listened and that is exactly why I was fed up because I only heard women celebrating, until I hear men doing the same I think the day is ineffective.
          We saw the same day and interpreted it differently. Just because I am not thrilled by international women’s day does not mean I am against my fellow women and will not fight for their rights.

        5. Yeah, I think we’re on two different pages. International Women’s Day isn’t about men. That’s my point. I don’t want nor need to hear their voices on IWD. I need them to stay quiet so that women have the floor, for once, for one day. To put WOMEN in the spotlight for one day. As autonomous human beings and not just as people related to men. Not as wives and sisters and daughters, but just as women. Just like on Gay Pride day it’s the voices of LGBT people who matter (and we hear the whining ‘When is Straight Pride Day’), for that one day, the floor is theirs. And in Black History Month (when we hear the whining ‘When is White History Month’), the floor belongs to people of colour. Men can of course celebrate IWD – they can do that by reading a book by a female author, listening to a panel discussion on women’s issues by women and really taking in what’s being said, instead of interrupting. They can donate to a women’s charity. They can buy a piece of female art. They can wish the women in their lives a Happy International Women’s Day and recognise it’s not about them, for once. They can have a read through the IWD hashtag on Twitter and retweet blog posts and articles and newspaper interviews about women – tooting someone else’s horn, instead of their own. They could celebrate in that way, and actually I saw quite a lot of men in my social media timelines doing just that!

  5. Fair play on opening up a debate, tric.

    I feel dissenting voices are drowned out too quickly with the presumption that those doing the dissenting, or raising questions, don’t understand the issues, when they patently do. There’s a thin line between persuading and hectoring, and to shut-down discussion is dangerous. Like anything, IWD can be subject to a good kicking. It’s also a test of tolerance to have ideas and stroked chins contribute to the discussion without them being interpreted as being pro-men, or anti-women, which is just too simple. And slightly patronising.

    1. I didn’t actually mean to be controversial! I was just a bit annoyed that the day, in my opinion, was not what it could be and listening to men’s interpretation of the arguments being presented, to my mind, proved that.
      For others it proved something else, that men don’t listen, but if they are not listening we should surely try another way?
      I’m exhausted now after all this debate, but as you say debate is good and always thought provoking. Thanks for your input.

  6. I didn’t know it was International Women’s Day, on my birthday too! Hey, maybe that gives me an excuse to watch my DVD of Fury Road again! (It was easily my favorite movie of 2015.)

      1. Sorry about that, Tric. I read the very interesting and detailed back and forth with one of your earlier commenters and realized that I was never going to be able to match that level of insight and analysis.

  7. I just got around to reading this one but well written. Yes, I wonder too if appreciating women just on that particular day would make a difference. But kudos to mentioning the importance of men in your life. Th men in my life, as in yours, bring meaning to so many small moments and joys and they mean the world to me. I couldn’t imagine something without their presence! So I guess, we should celebrate each other equally πŸ™‚

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