My grandmother told my mother when she got her first job out of college, “Prepare to work twice as hard to go half as far.” The statement was not meant to be sexist or degrading. To her, it was a simple fact of life. It was something my mother was told to just accept.
Since the beginning of organized society, women have been struggling to win equal rights and fair treatment. What is truly discouraging is that this fight is still happening.
In some countries, women still have to fight for basic human rights, while in others, women fight to be treated as equal to men. Though the struggle is still very much ongoing, the gender gap in the United States is getting increasingly smaller every day.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, people around the world remembered and honored all the women who have fought for justice.
Women today do not have to fight for the right to vote in many developed nations, but they still have to fight for things like equal pay and fairer treatment.
Many women who demand these rights use International Women’s Day as a form of protest. Protesters turned International Women’s Day into a “day without a woman,” when many women chose to stay home from work to show the impact they have in the workforce. Some school districts in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia were forced to close because they could not staff the schools.
This is not what the women who protested before this generation of women would have wanted.
On this day, the women of years past would have wanted modern women to go to work and sit among the men doing the jobs that these women were prohibited from doing during their lives.
They would not have wanted young girls in school to miss a day of education and would have recognized that every single day in the classroom is valuable because, for so many women around the world, the inside of a classroom is something they would never be allowed to see.
In many countries, young girls still cannot get an education—shutting down schools to protest that is simply counterproductive.
With such a large gender pay gap, of course women still need to speak up and fight for fair treatment.
It is necessary for women to fight in order to close the wage gap and end gender-based discrimination.
There are women who are killed in many parts of the world simply because of their gender. Women fight and protest because they have been treated as second-class citizens for far too long and it is time for equality.
However, International Women’s Day should not be a day of protest. It should be a day on which people think reverently about the women who fought for the rights modern women have today. It should be a day on which people kiss their mothers and grandmothers and thank them for doing their part. It should be a day on which women walk proudly into work and honor of all the women who were forced to stay home while their husbands went to work because, all too often, they still have to do so.