A must read piece!
This Friday sees the 39th International Women’s Day (IWD), a mandatory celebration for all member states of the United Nations following a resolution passed by the General Assembly in 1977.
The theme, “Equality for women is progress for all”, is little more than a pleasing soundbite unless one is prepared to fully unpick the notion of equality. Indeed, the entire day has the ring of self-congratulatory vacuity, the UN doing little more than paying lip-service to the notion of women’s rights, and genuflecting before the altar of populist Western feminism, albeit in style. The official observation takes the form of an hour-long event at the UN’s New York headquarters, with statements from General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, General Assembly President John Ashe and other prestigious international figures, including Hilary Clinton.
Too often the rush to smash glass ceilings leads to treating children as a hindrance to career success, treating them as a burden for which expedient solutions must be found, such as cheap accessible childcare. Motherhood is never treated as a joy, fulfilling in and of itself, but merely an optional extra or by-product of femininity.
Both the UN and International Women’s Day falls into the familiar and frustrating trap of defining female equality as sameness. According to popular wisdom, unless women are in the workplace, including in prominent positions in the same proportion as men, they may never be deemed to have achieved true freedom or equality.
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