But the 2015 McKinsey Global Institute report found that advancing women’s equality could potentially add $12 trillion to global growth and that the lack of parity between men and women has global economic consequences.
The moral and social implications of gender inequality are of course, the most heart-breaking. In 2016 how can a woman have no legal rights over her children? How is it right that a woman is arrested for sexual misconduct when she has been gang-raped? Why is a young girl not allowed to be educated like the boy next door?
For me, gender pay and economic equality are no brainers. But within cultural communities, when will a woman ever be applauded and respected in the same way as a man?
International Women’s Day is all about taking action – encouraging women and men to speak up and amplify the female voice all over the world.
Sadly, the idea of and meaning behind the term ‘Feminism‘ still seems to lack understanding, and even some men close to me are uncomfortable with the word. They think it means ‘man-hater’ (or eater). Well I am neither. I have incredibly close relationships with my father, my brother and of course my son and I would want them to have just as many rights as I did if we lived in a female-dominated world.
My Greek man often (jokingly) says how sorry he feels for my father and brother having to deal with three opinionated women (myself, my mum and my sister – no he’s not into polygamy). And despite the fact that much of my Greek family is made up of particularly bossy, strong-minded women, the man is still seen as superior. A woman should be married with children by 30 and all that jazz and if she isn’t there must be something wrong with her. Stereotypical? Simply old fashioned? But very much unequal.
For me feminism is about mutual respect, mutual growth and mutual appreciation? I do believe that there is a place for traditional male and female roles within society due to our genetic make-up (I am quite happy for my husband to perform stereotypical male duties around the house whilst I hold my baby. At the same time I am happy for him to hold the baby.) I’m not suggesting that all men should be midwives and women should be builders – most of the time we are just not wired for certain role reversals.
But when we do perform the same job to the same high standard we should reap the same rewards.
And I do not believe that discrimination, sexual, physical and emotional abuse and blatant sexism should be accepted just because ‘that’s the way it is.’
Today marks a huge celebration of how far women have come and how we continue to push the boundaries of social, economic, cultural and political achievement.
I’m proud to say that I am all for the sisterhood. My group The Greek Wives Club was very much born out of a desire to help give women a voice and I hope that it will continue to do so.
Sadly not all women want to back their gender and I continue to be disappointed by those who feel that the only way to bring themselves up is to tear others down. Now is the time for solidarity and unification, not jealousy and petty squabbles.
You can do your bit for the future of equal rights for both men and women by taking action and Pledging for parity or simply tweet your support to #PledgeforParity. Anyone and everyone can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. So let’s make our voices heard.