Tuesday, March 08, 2011

So. It is International Women's Day.

I am a woman with predominantly First World Problems. In the grand scheme of things, like most other people (women and men) my life is pretty meaningless. We're born, we live, we try to add meaning to our lives, and then we die. But it's *my* life, and that means my problems matter a great deal to me.

Whether the problems a woman encounters are the first world version or otherwise, many of these problems are caused by a global system called "patriarchy". These problems root themselves in a fear and hatred of women. These are problems that women on this planet steep in, every day, to varying degrees and in different ways.

Some examples are:

Rape as a tool of war.
Fistulas caused during childbirth and no access to medical care to repair them.
Being denied jobs or being underpaid for a job due to gender.
Having ones ideas dismissed by co-workers, teachers, supervisors, due to gender.
Domestic violence in the home being considered as normal.
Religions that consider women lower than men.
Rape as a tool of oppression of women.
Rape culture - dismissiveness of rape, victim-blaming, rape jokes, etc.
Being evaluated based on one's desirability to men.
Objectification of women as anything less than real, whole human beings.

What can you personally do to change this world? You can change your attitude. You can donate to micro-loan programs that help women. You can stop making rape jokes. You can make yourself a better person. It's what you, personally, can do. You can advocate for equal rights for women in the workplace. You can take complaints of sexism seriously. You can listen. No one said changing the world was easy. But it is a thing worth doing, if you operate from the basic assumption that we are all human on this planet together, and that each of our lives matter to us, as much as your life matters to you.

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