Saturday 10 December 2016

Open your eyes, ladies, girl power is not about demonising men

Lorraine Courtney

Published 09/03/2016 | 02:30

Activists attend a rally to mark the International Women's Day in Tbilisi, Georgia. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Activists attend a rally to mark the International Women's Day in Tbilisi, Georgia. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Sometimes the news can seem like a litany of hatred towards women, with stories of revenge porn and rape, of child brides and survival sex, of female genital mutilation and the gender pay gap. Corners of the internet insist on denying women's experiences. We live in a world of measurable, glaring inequalities and unquestionably need International Women's Day.

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The day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the 20th century in New York and it's now a global celebration of women's economic, political, social and cultural achievements. This year, it also marked a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In 2014, the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicted it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. The following year, the WEF realised a slowdown in the already dawdling pace of progress meant the gender gap would not close entirely until 2133.

Sure, our world has seen significant improvements regarding the rights of women, equality and emancipation, with more women in the boardroom, in parliament, increased visibility, greater equality in legislative rights etc. Yes, we've come a long way in the last century but even in Ireland we still earn 14pc less than men. We do most of the housework (80pc) and we are still in the majority of victims of domestic and sexual violence. Nearly 11,500 women and children received support from domestic violence services in 2013 and that's in a country where women supposedly have equal rights.

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