Happy International Women’s Day!
Today, we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women socially, environmentally, politically, culturally and economically.
Since 1911, women have spent this day telling their stories, reflecting on their journey in a bid to inspire other women but also to call for gender equality.
As George-Hilley (2015) stated “International Women’s Day is a positive force for celebration, but it must also be a platform for action and transformation to empower women across the world”.
If things have changed, why do we still celebrate it?
Well, the original aim of the day was to achieve full gender equality for women around the world. While things have changed, the aim still hasn’t been achieved. Global figures such as Malala Yousafzai and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson still show that women’s health, education, employment rate and payment are still less than that of men.
Now this is not to exclude men and all they have done in the attempt of unity across both genders.
As men, here are a few things you can do to carry on the work done to achieve women’s rights:
- Ask the women and girls in your life about their experiences with inequality?
- Ask how you can help drive change?
- Get involved with events and charities that aim to increase equality for men and women
- Acknowledge the daily struggles that women in your life face
- Organise a discussion on the changing roles and expectations of women
It has been proven that having celebration such as the International Women’s Day provide a space for discussion between both men and women. It is an event that is open to anyone who wants to be a part of change.
Women’s mental health
In the race to achieve gender equality for all, women usually juggle many things and in silence in order not to appear weak. The role of the modern woman usually involves being a mother, spouse, carer, worker, friend as well managing the traditional role that society sets out for them.
These roles expose women to many risk factors for poor mental health. While some women might ask for help when juggling too many things, others might find it difficult to talk about their feeling and internalise them, which can lead to mental health problems. These are factors that we each have to be aware daily regardless of our gender or background.
The theme of 2017’s International women’s day is to ‘Be Bold for Change.’ As a society, attempting to reach an equilibrium of equality for both sexes, this theme is a call for both men and women to make a stand. So this year, as we celebrate, let’s remember that actions speak louder than words and we each have a role to play in society no matter our gender.
So, will you be #BoldForChange in 2017 and beyond?
Being #BoldForChange requires courage, stepping out of traditional definitions of masculinity or gender norms, which can come at a high personal risk to one’s reputation or even safety. Here at MyMind, we have mental health professionals who can help you along the way, so feel free to get in touch if you need someone to talk to.
Let’s make everyday International Women’s Day.
By Cynthia Ebere-Anaba