B Every Woman

Int’l Woman Day…good or bad?

On March 8th, I am always puzzled…As a woman, should I be flattered or proud to have a woman’s day? The true is that the more I grow old, the less I like it. Why?

When I was younger, a gentleman in our team used to offer a flower to every woman and I was really proud that someone marked that day. I believed it was a nice gesture and I am always thankful to nice people. But is it enough? Should we really be happy that the world has to remember/is obliged to recognise us and our achievements once a year?

If you visit the United Nations’s website on the history of the day, it is really sad. Trust me, I visited many UN websites about women’s associations, and they looked more inspiring. The introduction explains that “International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe”.
And then you have a series of event’s dates, which I do not really understand the meaning. Are they supposed to relate all the different milestones? if yes, then it’s poor because over 100 years, they highlighted 8 dates only! Anyway…go have a look and let me know what you think! UN March 8th History

Ok let’s not be totally negative, this is not my type. Yes it is good to tell the world on an OFFICIAL DAY that we are far from gender equality and that we still have to fight for equal chances. Our grand-mothers and mothers have struggled to create a better place for us but we still need to keep the momentum going to win total respect on nearly every domain. Unfortunately, in soooooooo many countries still, women can not travel abroad, open accounts or even work without her husband’s authorization.

Today, women are still being used and abused and not only in countries under development and/or undeveloped!  For example, in Switzerland, when a woman is raped, the procedures to file a complaint against her aggressor are so complicated and heavy that most of the time they gave up and the aggressor is never condemned.

I (and I know I am not the only one) have this feeling that we are even going backwards. Let me quickly highlight some scary examples:

  • Tunisia after the Arab Spring: we, Tunisian women, were proud and known in the whole world for the rights that our President Bourguiba granted to women in 1956 already. During a UN Human Right Council General Assembly in 2008, it was written that “A 2006 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report noted that Tunisia’s Personal Status Code stands alone in the Arab world ”
    The Islamist government that was elected straight after the Tunisian revolution of 2010-2011 tried to amend the Personal Status Code by redefining the position as a complement to the man, and not an equal anymore. Women stood up and have shouted loud to conserve their rights!
  • Poland and women march against proposal for changing the law: “Polish women have gathered in cities across the country to protest against a proposal to ban abortions in cases where foetuses are badly damaged or have no chance of survival after birth” as per TheGuardian article on October 24th 2016. And their strong determination was a success as “they forced lawmakers to abandon that proposal” Read full article
  • Russia and the decriminalisation of it the domestic violence: as per the TheGuardian article on January 25th 2017, “Russian MPs have backed a controversial bill reducing the punishment for some forms of domestic violence in a crucial second reading, despite protests from rights groups.” Whatever their reason, in 2017, this is unacceptable! Read full article and the Opinion of Natalia Tumashkova (psychotherapist in Moscow)
  • France and their appeal against a burkini ban in the city of Cannes: it was the talk of the summer 2016 in France. After days and weeks of debates, the French court decided to overturn that ban and denounced an attempt to “violoate basic freedoms”.

We still have a long way to go but women and men have shown their determination and are fighting tirelessly to change things. And we will succeed, because failure is not an option on that subject.

Opinion: five ways to guarantee women can speak up and speak out