Art by Rume (@Yinkore on Twitter and IG). Credits given.

All women matter. All day, every single day.

The 8th of March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, with the whole of the month of March being set aside to celebrate women and champion our causes. Sounds like such a wonderful thing, right? Well maybe all that glitters, is really not gold. Maybe society (and men) hide under a banner of activism for one day/month and then return to their default of putting women’s issues on the back burner. Maybe they forget that improving women’s quality of life should be a continuous effort, year round that does not need a hashtag before it is spoken about. Maybe they forget that every women should be celebrated, every day.

Women, all over the world live very difficult lives made even more difficult by the patriarchal world we live in that strives so hard to limit and punish women who refuse to be limited. Last year, I wrote a poem titled ‘To Be’ (see below); because I realised that for a lot us women, what we really want is the freedom to exist how we know best, living lives full of whatever it is that we deem necessary.

Excerpt from the poem.

It is not hidden that society feels entitled to the body and labour of women. This is clear to see in both private and public spaces where woman do so much, yet are hardly recognised or rewarded. We observe how the domestic labour women provide is taken for granted because people believe domestication is a female rite of passage.

The domestic sphere is not even my axe to pick today. Today, on this 2021 IWD, the bone I have to pick is with corporate organisations.

Women in the corporate world face a plethora of challenges.

Glass ceilings, stereotypical limitations and stifling work environments are just a few of the battles they fight. I find it extremely ironic that these same organisations are the ones filling our social media pages with posts and graphics about women empowerment, when the gender policies in so many of these organisations are shamefully inadequate.

Today, banks and other financial organisations are telling us how much women contribute to their success when these same organisations have such poor maternity policies that women sometimes never return to the office after child birth. Women cannot report sexual harassment to HR because of fear of being shamed or unduly punished while the assaulter goes scott free or given a smack on the wrist.

This is the reality of countless women all over the world so who are these organisations deceiving with all this posturing today?

What women deserve, is a good life free from any limitations that arise as a result of our gender. What we want from these organisations is not another tweet but tangible improvements to the reality of the women they employ. What we want on IWD, is increased accessibility, opportunities and funding for women. What we want is for women to be safe and thriving. What we want is for women to have the chance to just be.

You also cannot help but notice that there is a certain kind of woman that is celebrated on days like IWD. They are usually classed, cis, heterosexual women. There is less said for women whose lives do not conform to what society sees as ‘acceptable’ (whatever the @%$& that means).

So today, I celebrate every single woman.

Today, we celebrate the women who are not CEOs, who are not sitting in boardrooms, who are not at the top of the food chain. We celebrate women whose lives have been made harder than average, by their gender orientation, their sexuality, their disability and their financial standing. Every single one of us is worthy.

My lovelies, you must always remember that you do not have to achieve things to be important or validated. Your existence is enough magic. That you wake up everyday and put one foot in front of another is enough victory.

Because you are here, trying and trying every day, you are my hero.

Happy International Women’s Day to all of us.

May the path be better for those who come after us.

We will always have words 🤍

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