Backwards and In Heels

Backwards and In Heels

Adrienne BoettingerWednesday,9 March 2016

What do you think was the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day? Under the Sea? Ladies drink free? No, it was #PledgeForParity. That may sound less exciting than the standard prom theme but since women won’t achieve political or economic parity for something like 117 goddam years I’m literally seeing red from my pending rage stroke.

So what does this theme mean? Parity varies from country to country — it doesn’t take a room full of feminists to realize that women in ‘Murica have it far better than women in Yemen. But we’re nowhere near the awesomeness that is Iceland where more women participate in the workforce, are paid equally, have better access to health care and education, and better representation in government.

Not only will it take far too long for women to achieve parity but it’s going to be a painful, hot mess of an arduous journey. Granted, our frustrations look a lot different than those of our foremothers who were imprisoned, force-fed while on hunger strike, sexually assaulted and threatened all for daring to assert they should have the right to vote. But today’s frustrations are real just the same.

For every gain we seek, we must work harder than our betesticled counterparts. That’s just the way it is. My day job is in a field so dominated by men that for most meetings I attend, I’m either the only woman present or one of the few in the room. In government and private industry, finding a woman in a leadership position is still unique enough to make it seem like a breakthrough and the year is 2016! According to a study by the World Economic Forum, only 63 out of 142 nations studied has ever had a female head of government or state in the past 50 years and for nearly 2/3 of those nations, a woman was in power for less than 4 of those 50 years.

And we’re not supposed to complain about this or play the gender card? PUH-LEASE. When a male candidate for President has to change outfits four times a day while campaigning, is asked at every stop what he’s wearing and if he misses his children, then I say they can make fun of the hell female candidates are put through, but until that time, they need to sit down and shut up. This year we actually had female Presidential candidates in both mainstream parties and asshats acted as if equality was an established fact. Former HP CEO, Carly Fiorina, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were mocked for their wardrobe choices, described as strident and shrill, and had to work harder than their male counterparts to be taken seriously and treated respectfully.

I don’t see men as the enemy. I’m just tired of being told how much better I have it than women 40 and 50 years ago. I’m tired of being told that so much progress has been made. I’m tired of it being assumed that because I’m the woman, I’ll take notes or plan the office celebrations. I’m tired of the subtle, yet pervasive chauvinism, of it being a novelty if a woman becomes the head of a company or the leader of a country, of it being okay that 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age aren’t in school, of living in a country where paid family leave is still a dream.

If you’re tired too, do something. Support female candidates if you agree with their positions and treat them respectfully even if you don’t. Consider supporting an organization like EMILY’S List that helps female candidates. Encourage an awesome woman you know to run for office or consider running yourself. Support initiatives to get and keep more girls in school like the Malala Fund. Support women-owned businesses. Confront sexist asshats with their jackassery. Teach your daughters and sons to do the same.

Take Action!

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Image Credit: Peace Education Center on Flickr

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