8th. March

One day in the year

 

A date that, for me, is easy to remember – it’s my brother’s birthday (even if I do forget his exact age, now and again).

And, of course, it’s International Women’s Day, a celebration that commemorated its centenary in 2011. Congratulations and best wishes, all round!

A big day in Bulgaria, much more so than I recall it being in, for example, Cardiff. Flower-sellers in Sofia have been accused (as every year) for raising their prices to extortionate levels. The phone keeps ringing with good wishes to my wife. Family members arrive with flowers. All very heart-warming.

But the press, internationally, announces this or that report on the varying degrees of (in)equality of women: fewer places in government than males;  the same in the boardroom; exploitation on lower earning levels; outright abuse and worse, across the globe, in terms of commercial and sexual exploitation.

I’ve often wondered why we have all these “International Days”, and what they really achieve. I’m sure we think briefly about the Cause of the Day – but what do we actively do? Will I give up smoking on “No Smoking Day”? Do I even know that it’s the International Year of Forests – and Chemistry, according to the UN? How does this pageantry affect me, along with everyone else? I remain a doubter.

It’s a shame that we menfolk observe March 8 – one day in the year for our ladies. There’s no International Men’s Day, is there – no, we don’t need it, we are in charge all year round; isn’t that the implication?

I sincerely hope this changes soon. We can all contribute, on an equal (but different) basis, to the common good.

Two current snippets on the subject: a case of alleged discrimination by Walmart, and an anecdote about the fragility of trust between the sexes.

1: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12601177

2: http://www.charlescrawford.biz/blog/international-women-s-day-v-diplomacy

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