Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day, and while I initially didn’t think much of it, only sharing a post on Facebook because it made me laugh a little, I quickly realized that the topic is one that people are keen to react to.
The reaction to a post that I thought was funny, because of its somewhat extreme nature in asking all women to take the day off, and not take part in any kind of paid or unpaid work for a day, was more than I anticipated.
Obviously, it’s not just women who make the world go round, but everyone that contributes to society in a meaningful way, which is why I thought the post I shared missed the mark in promoting women’s day. If you took men away from all paid or unpaid work for a day, wouldn’t a similar situation arise? But then, maybe that is the point of the post, and maybe in reality it actually hit the mark dead on.
Either way, after going in circles in my own mind for a while on the topic, I’ve realized that most “holidays” are clear in what they are celebrating – for example, last week also marked the lesser known holidays of “Pack your lunch Day,” “Blueberry Popover Day,” and my favourite, “Day of Awesomeness,” all taking place on March 10 (what a busy day).
But, International Women’s Day opens up the door for a bit more discussion than what recipe I’m going to use to celebrate Blueberry Popover Day (honestly, I prefer my popovers without fruit). I saw arguments for and against Women’s Day – people asking if it is fair to have a day to celebrate women, and of course there were calls for a day to celebrate men too.
In my reality, I often feel that my husband is the target of way more sexist remarks than I am. He’s been the stay-at-home parent for many of the last nine years, and is way better at cooking and cleaning than I am. He often does the bulk of the child rearing in our home, and with that, I know there have been times where people made assumptions based on the traditional role reversal we tend to live.
In the end, International Women’s Day means different things to different people. As someone who was born and raised in a situation where I feel I have been treated fairly and equally throughout my life, it’s a little easier to shrug my shoulders at the notion, and simply move on with my day.
But, it’s also a clear reality that there are places in the world where women have to fight for basic human rights. While we obviously have some work to do in certain areas as Canadians, such as workplace equality, and battling basic stereotypes and attitudes, I still count myself as one of the lucky ones.
Despite an upbringing filled with Barbies, My Little Pony, Easybake ovens, and many more ‘girlie’ things (that I still love), I also had the opportunity to do as I pleased. I built forts in the backyard, drove quads, played video games, and took mechanics in high school. I kept up to my three brothers, when I wanted to, and if I wanted to.
I rarely felt that the jobs I worked, or the education I completed, was dependent on me being female.
So, in the end, I didn’t skip out on work on Wednesday, like the post I shared asked me to do. I didn’t even wear red in solidarity. I simply enjoyed the fact that, every day, I have the opportunity to do what I love, and spend time with those I love – in my house filled with boys.