International Women's Day 2024

Call it being weary. Call it laziness. Call it being pedantic. But this year on International Women's Day (IWD) 2024, I decided there wasn't any point to writing anything original. As you know I've always posted on International Women's Day on this blog. This year is no different. Except for all the ways in which it is different. I'm pulling words from over the years that I have written on IWD. I don't know how many times you have to say something for it to stick. Here is what I know: I won't and can't tire of reiterating the need for equality in our world; the need for women to have it better; the need for women to be heard and seen. The goal is to wake up one day and realize there is so much fairness, enlightenment, and equity/equality that we no longer need IWD. Ah a dream. 

Let's count down, shall we? My words over the years. Here ya go.

2023: "In Yemen, a woman cannot leave the house without her husband’s permission and women are legally required to obey their husbands. More than twenty countries restrict the types of jobs women can undertake. In eighteen nations including Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Bolivia, women need their husband’s permission to get a job. In some places, if a woman’s husband dies, she has no claim to her family’s assets. In many others, they restrict what wives can inherit from their husbands. In 113 countries, there are no laws that ensure equal pay for work by men and women. There are seven countries where women are not guaranteed paid maternity leave, and the United States is one of them. This is despite the fact that paid parental leave is associated with fewer infant deaths, higher rates of breastfeeding, and allows mothers to remain in the workforce."

2022: "People take and take and take from women and what do women get in return? Unequal pay, unpaid maternity leave,  sexual assault and harassment, silencing women, unconscious and conscious bias, lack of opportunities, sexism, racism, cultural practices so barbaric as to be asinine. How can it be that despite all the International Women's Days we have had, that despite all these companies posting cutesy graphics, that with all the Google doodles, that women have to live in a world where they are forced to go back to work weeks (or even days) after giving birth to a human being? How is it that we still live in a world where women have to choose between work and motherhood? How is it that we still live in a world where women are second class citizens and are subjected to shrill (even pedestrian) misogyny and sexism? How is it that we still live in a world, and this is particularly idiotic, where some women are not allowed to inherit properties of their fathers? How do we still live in a world where domesticity and child rearing is still fully left to women?"

2021: "I don’t believe in the feminism that says women must be nice to all women. I don’t owe all women my niceness. As a matter of fact, I despise some women and there's nothing you can do about it. I still think they should be treated equally as men. I just hate how they contribute to misogyny and how they deliberately hinder other women from greatness. This is also why more than filling your office spaces with the XX chromosome, enact policies that benefit women: have good healthcare; fund scientific research that reduce the occurrence of female cancers or just I don't know figure out basic ish that cripple women?; have generous maternity leave policies that allow women to progress at work while doing the noble job of populating our society (through childbirth); establish transparent pay practices; protect women from sexual harassment, and when there are allegations, don’t gaslight them into silence."

2020: "You  don't have to be 'strong'. When people describe women as 'strong', it is often only after enduring the worst form of abuse and  after doing all the emotional and physical labor. You don't have to be extraordinary too. Somehow, women have to be extraordinary. It's okay to not want to be badass. It's ok to be mediocre. To be content. To not want to be that powerful boss. It is okay to want a slow, simple life in a world that constantly demands you to hustle, strive, build, compete,  have this immense impact on the world, save the world, and always want more. I am here to remind you that bigger is not always better. It is okay to not have the energy and stamina to keep up with this crazy world.   It is okay to be whatever you want. As long as you fulfill God's purpose for your life, which is not always in the grand way people think. As long as you live out loud. As long as you never apologize for who you are. And as long as you never ever silence yourself."

2019: "I now worry a lot about romanticizing what it means to be a woman in this world. I will do you one better, we now romanticize what it means to be a woman of color in this world. Even for a relatively privileged woman like me, being a [black] woman is not the easiest thing in the world. You have to worry about what to say, when to say, your hair, your skin, YOU. Am I too much? Am I making them uncomfortable? Have I said too much? Is my hair too big? Is she being racist or am I just making a big deal of it? And these are first world problems. When you go down several notches to the feminization of poverty, to rape, to sexual harassment, to domestic violence, to servitude (because some of you aren't wives, you're servants. Yeah, I said it), you realize the current state is not very bright."

2018: "Look, when you benefit from oppression, you become threatened by every possibility of it being dismantled. Men wrote the laws, they led the countries, they had the better jobs, only them voted for years. So of course our society is constructed to benefit them. Our society has been designed to benefit one half over the others. It will and must stop. I'm convinced if you are still ignorant, it's willful ignorance. You have chosen not to know. You have chosen a side: the side of injustice. And please, I hope we know that it's beyond such trite things as cooking or who pays for dates. It's much more. It is literally life and death. If you are one of those who think it's the white man's thing and foreign to our culture. As a matter of fact, it is not. Colonialism is what made our culture so patriarchal. Yoruba, for instance, is not a gendered language.  There is no special pronoun for women or men. I recently told my brother this and he was quite pleasantly surprised to learn that. Aba women, in the 30s led a fierce riot against fiscal oppression and burdensome taxation and WON. Three women started it. And don't get me started with Funlayo Ransome-Kuti."  

2017: "Like my sister recently said in one of her essays: 'There is potential and then there is opportunity.' On this International Women's Day, I wish girls are provided with more opportunities to become phenomenal women of their choosing. It would be nice if these opportunities are not thwarted by old, white men who believe the world was a better place when women knew their place. You can’t be what you don’t know. If you are never exposed to the concepts or the thought of becoming a scientist, you’d never know you could be one. So I hope girls are provided with opportunities to read more; to learn more; and talk more."

2016: "Happy International Women's day to my amazing mother, and also to every female trail blazer out there. Thank you for continually defying odds. Here's to great women; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them."

2015: "On whether or not to be a feminist, here’s my answer: In the words of the legendary Maya Angelou, “I am a feminist. I have been a female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” I always used to wonder whether or not I was a feminist because I had seen that concept abused time and time again. But I have since realized that to say you aren’t a feminist would be to insult great women like Betty Friedan who fought endlessly for women. It would be to insult great women like Myra Bradwell, who when she denied admission to the Illinois state bar because she was a woman—even after passing the bar exams in flying colors—fought HARD that women be allowed to become whatever they so desired. I imagine that without Bradwell, many female attorneys today would have been, well you can guess. It would be insulting more legendary women like Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, whose courage I personally admire and marvel at. It would be to undermine our powerful mothers—some of whom had to raise their children alone, without the support of any man. So, in the words of another feminist I admire, Chimamanda Adichie, 'We should all be feminists.' Therefore, let us accept the brightly burning torches that these great women have passed onto us and keep passing it on."

Our fight is not nearly finished. 



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