Happy International Women’s Day lovely people.

I’m hoping to post a few things today about the incredible women (and men) in my life who have inspired and supported me, and who have always stood up for gender equality, as well as some of the excellent events that are going on for you to take part in or follow along with on social media. However before we get to that I know there are some people out there who don’t really understand why we need an International Women’s Day. Who don’t seem to get that inequality and sexism is still rife. If you are not sure what this is all about I urge you to have a read of this.

I also urge you to bear in mind that although I am speaking from (and you may be reading from) a privileged position, living in a country where women have the vote and have a lot of fantastic opportunities, there there is still a pervasion of sexism in our everyday lives. Some of it so ingrained that, unfortunately, we sometimes don’t even notice it ourselves until after the fact. Beyond our own experiences however, we should not forget that there are countless women in the world whose experiences of inequality eclipse any we could imagine. Women who are not allowed to drive a car, purely because they were born female. Women who are not allowed to vote, because they are women. Women who cannot choose what job or career they want to do because their country puts legal restrictions on what jobs they are allowed to do. Women whose husbands purposely disfigure them with acid and who are made to feel like they have done something wrong. Women who are handed long terms of imprisonment for failing to prevent their partners from abusing their children, whilst the partners who perpetrated the abuse walk away after much shorter terms.

Furthermore, the question of equality is not just about improving the lives of women. Achieving gender equality will improve the lives of men as well. Why should men have to go through life unable to express and explore their thoughts and feelings freely, for fear that they will be thought less of a man? Why should boys grow up in a world where they are told ‘big boys don’t cry’ or that certain toys and games are ‘only for girls’. It is time that we stop perpetuating arbitrary ideas about what is acceptable for men and women, boys and girls, and start recognising that we are all people who have the right to experience a full spectrum of human experiences and emotions. That as people we have the right to equality of opportunity, equal recognition of achievement, equal freedom of choice.

Whatever progress we have made, there is more we need to do. Whatever our personal experiences, we need to be standing up for women everywhere, we need to be fighting for each other, because wouldn’t it be great if one day equality wasn’t a question but a given? So let’s start here and now. There is an abundance of exciting things going on today that you can take part in; why not have a mosey on over here and search for events in your area. If you can’t get to any events then follow along on social media. I am particularly excited for Emma Watson’s live stream Q&A for He for She on Facebook, starting at 5pm GMT. Whatever you’re doing this IWD take the time to consider how you can contribute to the fight for gender equality.

Have a great day!

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