I see it as a day to promote awareness of the prejudice and persecution that still occurs in the world against 50% of the population.
In Tehran just last week, over 32 women were arrested for protesting outside a courthouse. The women were protesting against the previous arrests of women’s rights group leaders who were planning events on IWD to call attention to Islamic laws that discriminate against women.
Since 2001, more than 2,000 women and girls have been murdered in Guatemala and almost no convictions in these gruesome cases (men in Guatemala are allowed to rape women so long as they eventually marry the victim and she’s over the age of 12).
These horror stories are almost expected in developing countries and it is easy to feel distanced from their suffering, however we have displays of our own here in North America even if we choose not to see them. Last year for example we had two shocking and prominent examples of men walking into American schools and selecting girls to assault and kill. Everyone scrambled afterwards to address the issues violence in schools and society (or why someone might hate the Amish) while few acknowledged them to be brutal hate crimes against women. At the New York Times, Bob Howard wrote an article “Why aren’t we shocked?” about how our culture is so saturated with misogyny that we don’t notice it anymore even when it walks into a school and executes innocent children.
It doesn’t take a school shooting to see modern misogyny either as Forbes magazine demonstrated in August last year when it ran the article "Don’t Marry Career Women:"
Guys a word of advice, marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.Naturally there was a deserved backlash against the piece from women yet curiously I read few rebuttals from men. And men should be offended by its outdated portrayal of their gender as emotionally stunted, insecure and laaaa-zy, but strangely I don’t think too many men saw it as an affront to them.
Dang, I'm afraid I've gone off on a tangent and that was not my intent here. I have a feeling that most people (regardless of gender) aren’t even aware IWD exists nor give any more than a passing thought to it. Instead of giving out flowers to those who were born with a womb tomorrow I just wanted anyone reading this to take five minutes to reflect on the roles and rights of women here and abroad and consequently what that means about roles and rights of men -I think one has a lot to do with the other.
There, I’m off my soapbox.