Every year, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on Mar. 8. The theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual. According to the IWD website, the #EachforEqual campaign aims to “challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.”
There’s a lot to unpack about why this theme is important, especially beyond IWD and Women’s Month. We’re listing down some of these points below:
In the Philippines, only 45.9 percent of working age women have access to decent employment. When they do find a job, they are paid less than their male counterparts. It’s not only important to give women equal opportunities in the workplace, but this is also a way of eradicating poverty worldwide. A 2015 McKinsey Global Institute report found that advancing women’s equality by improving gender parity could add as much as $28 trillion to the global annual GDP by 2025. Likewise, UNDP-Philippines stated that empowering girls and women can boost economic growth in the country.
Acknowledging trans women
Fighting for equality doesn’t just mean raising the flag for cisgender women. We see #EachforEqual as an opportunity to give trans women a voice to let the world know they arewomen. For the longest time, IWD has felt like an exclusive occasion for cisgender women, which has made trans women feel like their existence has to pass a certain standard—especially with people saying that Women’s Month isn’t for them because they weren’t born biologically female. (Read up on the meaning of SOGIE so you can differentiate gender identity and biology.)
Like cisgender women, trans women also experience sexism and discrimination. In the past year alone, we’ve seen multiple Filipino trans women being mistreated, which has sparked more discussions on the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill. With the #EachforEqual campaign, this is a good opportunity to talk and raise awareness about the experience of trans women.
Stop health stereotypes
This mostly applies to reproductive health since women are still misdiagnosed when they are experiencing menstrual pains and other problems. Halsey once talked about a similar experience when she would faint because of abdominal pains. She’d been misdiagnosed multiple times before an OB-GYNE told her that she had endometriosis.
That said, it’s time for everyone to raise awareness about women’s healthcare and how their concerns are being ignored by some healthcare providers. This will also remove the stigma surrounding periods and the notion that women are merely overreacting when they don’t feel well.