One day per year isn’t enough to bridge the gender divide

SF State celebrated International Women’s Day on Tuesday by having a two-hour-long event in Malcolm X Plaza with music, sex education and spoken word and dance performances. Men cooked for women in a quaint reversal of stereotypical binary gender roles, and helped orchestrate the festivities.

All of this is a further slap in the face to U.S. women who deal with pay inequality and sexism on a daily basis, and perpetuates the marginalization of trans and gay women and people who identify as neither gender. Our culture continues to ignore the needs of those who don’t fall neatly into society’s accepted gender identities and roles.

Furthermore, it is beyond insulting that women, who comprise 50.7 percent of the U.S. population and 49.6 percent of the global population, have been relegated to a single calendar day.

There are many who argue that International Women’s Day is a day to raise awareness of the plight of women the world over, but half of the global population shouldn’t have to wait until March 8 every year to address the fact that they make up less than 20 percent of the U.S. Congress, that there is no country in which women out-earn men, or that they might be stoned to death in a shockingly large number of countries for adultery if they are married and raped by a man who is not their husband.

Frankly, women shouldn’t even have to wait for one day a year to address who does the laundry in their household, let alone matters that determine the course of their entire lives.

Only two of the seven CEOs featured on the official International Women’s Day website were women. A website dedicated to celebrating women couldn’t even find a majority of female CEOs to feature.

There is no “men’s day,” because every day is straight, cis, white men’s day. They dominate our money and our screens big and small. They make up the vast majority of (in)famous and successful politicians, actors, athletes, journalists, scientists, businessmen, gangsters, serial killers and on, and on, and on. Notoriety is the providence of men, barring a few (notably deep) fields, including models and reality TV stars.

If the international community truly wants to honor women, it should focus on addressing the systemic inequalities that face all women 365 days a year, not just one day and not just one type of woman.

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