Today is International Women’s Day – this is why we still need it

Ignore MGTOW fedora-wearers on the internet. It matters

“International Women’s Day, lol but we already have equality now and this day seems unfair on men. Not ALL men.”

Greg tips his fedora in self-congratulation at this top and extremely relevant comment. He’s typing this, after licking his fingers clean from cheese and onion crisp dust and taking a sip of Mountain Dew to spur himself on, in the comments section of a Guardian article he’s seen, and he knows everyone will agree with him. He’ll ask the guys on Reddit what they think later, but for now he’s late to meet his Computer Science course mates at the pub to discuss a think piece they’re writing about why Milo Yiannopoulos is just misunderstood and we shouldn’t censor him.

Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day, an annual opportunity to both celebrate women’s achievements and the progress women have made across the world, but also to reflect on how far we still have to go in the fight against gender inequality.

You’d think no one would have a problem with this concept, but there are still lots of people (not all men though) who question why IWD is still relevant, because obviously women already have equality and we should probably stop being so loud and stop complaining because it’s what’s caused the rise of the neo-Nazis and probably Brexit too.

Let’s look at the facts. On a global scale, according to the Global Gender Gap 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close by 2186. Deloitte has predicted the gender pay gap won’t close until 2069 only just over 20 per cent of the world’s parliamentarians are women, a third of women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes – I could go on and on about the horrific experiences women face every day across the world. Think it’s not an issue for us in the UK?

Abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland, as just one example, and one of our women MPs, Jo Cox, was murdered last year. It’s easy to get so sick of people claiming that gender inequality isn’t an issue any more – literally look around you, talk to your gal pals, read any news website, get out of your flat. Just because we have a woman as Prime Minister and a woman as First Minister of Scotland, as well as the Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservative leaders being women, doesn’t mean society has been magically transformed into a feminist paradise.

On campus and at uni, sexism often shows itself through lad culture and sexual harassment. This year, the uni, EUSA and the Sports Union teamed up to create the “No One Asks For It” campaign to speak out against different types of sexual harassment. According to NUS research, almost 70 per cent of women students have experienced some form of assault, either verbal or physical, while at university.

It’s got to the point where it’s surprising to not receive some form of catcalling or groping if you go on a night out in a group of girls, and we as students shouldn’t be accepting that. As a Politics student, I’ve often had to do readings where every single author is a man, or studied a module about political thinkers where we learnt about lots of different philosophers, but coincidentally there was only one woman, because obviously women have just never really had much to say about politics throughout the entirety of modern history.

I know I definitely wanted to learn about St. Augustine of Hippo and his thoughts on Christian Theology – really interesting and 100 per cent irreplaceable on the course. This is another reason why International Women’s Day is great, because it encourages everyone to recognise women’s achievements because, let’s face it, we have been really fucked over for pretty much the whole of history. So many women have done so many amazing things, but I am willing to bet not that many people can name a single woman inventor. Also the fact that an inventor is assumed to be a man and I’m having to specify woman inventor.

All in all, if someone moans on at you about IWD then whack on some Aretha Franklin or Cyndi Lauper, throw some glitter in their face and tell them to crawl out from their sad hole which probably contains multiple posters of Piers Morgan’s face. Do they really have nothing better to do? Probably not, but you do gals – shout about how great women are, have a boogie, and on a serious note, donate to a severely underfunded woman’s charity such as Women’s Aid or Refuge.

For information about some great events EUSA is running, have a look here.