Abbie Lauten-Scrivner is a journalism sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
Every March 8, women around the world take a day to commemorate female achievement. Since International Women’s Day was initiated more than a century ago, women in many parts of the world have made extraordinary advancements away from being treated like accessories to actual autonomous individuals.
In addition to this celebration, March 8 is also a day to recognize the persistent global inequity women continue to face. It is vital to acknowledge that the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women International Women’s Day celebrates are not internationally equal.
In China, International Women’s Day is commercialized: the day marks hefty discounts on female-oriented merchandise, enticing women into exercising their purchasing power. Simultaneously, China silenced female protesting power by shutting down the feminist account “Women’s Voices” on the country’s version of Twitter. The country gave no explanation. The message this sends is that women may be appreciated for their monetary value, but may not vocalize opinions.
Women in Lebanon marched in protest of lack of appropriate punishment for rapists, domestic abuse (which roughly half of Lebanese women are subjected to) and a patriarchal law preventing women who marry foreigners from passing citizenship to their children. This highlights an inability to see women as dignified human beings and demonstrates a lack of empathy.
International Women’s Day was canceled in the Gaza strip by Hamas, a militant fundamentalist Islamic organization that now governs Gaza. Under the previous Palestinian National Authority, it was a national holiday. Though Hamas provided no explanation for the cancellation, revoking the celebration of womanhood is a defacto devaluation of the female identity. It tells women that they are not significant enough to constitute a day of appreciation.
In Turkey, peaceful female protesters who rose against the government’s ban of International Women’s Day were met with rubber bullets.
These blatant demonstrations of disrespect and violence against women who advocate for basic human rights appear to me as a testament to the critical need for educated, intersectional feminism across the entire world.
Likewise, findings show that gender equity is nonexistent worldwide. In 2015, the World Economic Forum measured female status in 145 countries. The study considered female participation in the workforce, pay, healthcare, education, political power and representation in government. A score of zero signified complete disparity, while a score of one meant gender parity.
Iceland ranked the highest, with a score of 0.88. The United States was number 28, scoring 0.74. For a nation christened “the leader of the free world,” it is evident that even the U. S. must respect and acknowledge the persistent protests of the less free so that it may actually come to one day deserve this title.