8th March is International Women’s Day everywhere in the world. It is a public holiday in some countries, a holiday for women only in other countries, and just a normal day in yet other countries. So much for equality…
Wikipedia’s entry for this day shows a German socialist manifesto poster:
And the English translation for it reads thus:
“Give Us Women’s Suffrage. Women’s Day, March 8, 1914. Until now, prejudice and reactionary attitudes have denied full civic rights to women, who as workers, mothers, and citizens wholly fulfill their duty, who must pay their taxes to the state as well as the municipality. Fighting for this natural human right must be the firm, unwavering intention of every woman, every female worker. In this, no pause for rest, no respite is allowed. Come all, you women and girls, to the 9th public women’s assembly on Sunday, March 8, 1914, at 3pm.”
It’s ironic to reflect back on just over a century of Women’s Rights, and realise just how slow progress has been to accept Women as equals with Men. The prejudice and reactionary attitudes are still there. Full civic rights are still being denied to women in some countries and in some cultures. Let’s not even talk about the paucity of women in politics and the big gap between men and women in employment opportunities and pay. It is a natural human right…and yet Women have had to fight for it, and continue to fight for it? Why??
The same can be said for equality among the various races. Equality among the many religions, castes, cultures.
Man fears what he does not know. But if he does not take steps to learn and understand what he does not know, then that fear can turn to hatred and the urge to annihilate. History has shown time and again that when Man feels threatened, his first instinct is to destroy that which makes him fearful. That has been the case for many millennia.
It is time to lose that fear of the unknown and embrace it instead.
I look back at Man’s history and cringe. What made Man think that Women were beneath them, that they had to be subjugated and repressed and controlled? What caused White Man to believe that anyone from a different race/religion/culture was less than themselves and thus to be treated as slaves or worse, as animals? Who gave Man the right to decide that Whites and Coloureds could not sit on the same bus, go to the same schools, work in the same offices, eat at the same restaurants, live in the same areas, earn the same pay, have the same opportunities?
Who made Man supreme, anyhow? Men themselves.
The word on the street these days is that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders are to be shunned, disowned by their families, thrown out of churches and denied basic human rights. Some Americans even wish to kill them and are trying to get Bills passed to legalise the shooting of anyone of an LGBT persuasion. Hello??! Who decreed that our LGBT brothers and sisters, who are JUST AS HUMAN AS EVERYONE ELSE, should be treated any different? Who dictated that just because they don’t conform to Society’s “norms”, that they need to be put down? Why the need for yet another witch hunt? (Lest we forget, those “witches” of old were no more than learned, clever Women who practised healing in their community, and again it was Man’s fear that instigated the witch hunts and inquisitions to destroy them).
I don’t want to be seen as Man-bashing, but really, MEN have A LOT to account for. No, that’s not the right word. Atonement is a far more appropriate word.