International Women’s Day
I feel like I have been starting my most recent posts with something talking about how cold it is and then I continue to say it can’t be that much longer and soon it will be spring. I say this hoping the next time I write it will actually be warmer and begin to feel like spring but so far that has not been the case. I feel that we are in an endless winter and that our spring break will actually be another winter break. I hope that’s not true, and I hope it starts to warm up soon because I think it’s pretty clear that everyone is over winter for this year.
With all this crazy cold and everyone stressing out about finishing up midterms before spring break, many of you may over look a very important and awesome international holiday coming up. Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women and it has been celebrated since 1911. It was started around the time when many countries were first allowing women to vote and today it has expanded all around the globe and celebrates more than suffrage. Today it is celebrated on every continent and is used as a time to remember the hardships in the past for women’s rights and to push forward into the future for more equality. Around the world some women are denied basic rights and are still fighting for things like the right to vote, right to marry who and when they want, right to education, right to own property or to start a business. In other parts of the world, women are pushing for more equality in the job market such as equal pay, equal seats on executive boards, less discrimination for maternity leave, and also for equal representation in political areas.
So that is International Women’s Day, but what can you do to celebrate it? First, I think you should acknowledge and thank the women in your life that have helped you in some way, or maybe inspired you. This might be your mom, siblings, other family, mentor, teacher, boss, or even yourself if you’re a woman. I think it takes an effort from both men and women to continue for gender equality and if everyone would realize the benefits from this equality the world would be a much better place.
Right now I am writing a large research paper for my International Studies Capstone course and I choose the topic of “The Spanish Economic Crisis and it’s Effects on Women.” Through my researching I am learning so much about women’s rights around the world, and how even in a highly developed country women still struggle for equal rights, especially in the work place.
I think many of people our age, like students here at UW-Stevens Point, feel that the battle for women’s rights in the United States is coming to a close, but really there is a long way to go. I think it’s especially important for students who want to have a professional career, like those of us in the College of Professional Studies, realize that women are an important part of the working world and need to be treated as equals. Large companies that have a more equal ratio of male and female employees are more successful as opposed to companies that have a high male majority. I found that out when I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. She talks about women’s rights in the work place here in the United States and I think it is a must read for anyone, men and women, who wants to learn to be successful in their career.
So when your sitting inside cramming for a midterm or maybe shoveling your sidewalk this week, remember International Women’s Day on March 8. Perhaps do something small like thank a woman in your life, or read up about women’s rights issues, or maybe even do more and attend a large event. I think our generation is on the right path for a better world when it comes to gender equality and if we all make a small effort in our community or career it could change someones perspective and open their eyes. We can create a better world together.
Alexia Szabo is a senior majoring in economics, Spanish and international studies at UW-Stevens Point.