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A Little Wisdom: The spirit of International Women’s Day

In+her+weekly+column+%22A+Little+Wisdom%22%2C+staff+reporter+Abby+Dasgupta+shares+the+insights+she%27s+gained+through+the+years.++
In her weekly column

In her weekly column "A Little Wisdom", staff reporter Abby Dasgupta shares the insights she's gained through the years.

Juleanna Culilap

Juleanna Culilap

In her weekly column "A Little Wisdom", staff reporter Abby Dasgupta shares the insights she's gained through the years.

Abby Dasgupta, Staff Reporter

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Happy International Women’s Day. March 8 is a day people take the time to celebrate the strides made in economic, political, and social rights for women all over the world. But it’s also the time to reflect on the miles people still need to go to achieve complete gender parity.

But honestly, I feel like we sometimes lose sight of what gender parity actually means. Merriam-Webster defines “parity” as the quality or state of being equal or equivalent. If combined with the word gender, it points to the obvious goal of the feminist movement: equality of the sexes. And we all know that in most sectors of society and politics, men outrank women; this is, unfortunately, the way things have always been.

Since the beginning of the second, socially-minded wave of feminism in the 1960s, though, we have been telling girls that they can do anything they set their minds to. We herald the accomplishments of women like Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, Lilly Singh, and so many more; rightly so, because their actions have revolutionized the way women carry themselves globally.

Organizations like Scientista and The Association for Women in Science were formed to inspire more young girls to pursue careers in STEM fields, and many universities have reported statistics that female undergraduates outnumber males on their campuses. And who could forget the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements; almost all major media industry events have featured some type of dialogue about these two movements, meant to galvanize both women and men to include better representation for minorities in the media. These things are incredibly important; as I’ve stated before, people will imitate the things they see over and over again so the discourse that has begun will only have positive impacts for women in the future.

I know it is International Women’s Day, and I don’t want to be one of those meninists clamoring away for an International Men’s Day, but I think there’s something to be said about the impact the feminist movement can and will have on men.

We are always in search of new ideas that will make life easier for women in the world, reducing the rates of child marriage and female infanticide, eradicating the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in the workplace, and encouraging women to pursue their own careers outside the household. Perhaps, that change could manifest itself in changes for young boys as well.

Emma Watson’s #HeForShe movement is a good example of including men in the discussion, but I think we can do better. If we can tell girls that math and science are options for them, I’m sure we can tell boys that the fine arts are options for them. Tell little girls that they are forces to be reckoned with, but don’t forget to tell little boys that they don’t have to be tough, strong, and impenetrable at all times.

So many of the strides we have made in eradicating negative stereotypes about women could be directly applied to reducing the vise-like grip toxic masculinity holds over our boys, making the whole world kinder, safer, and happier for all–which is after all, the whole spirit of this International Women’s Day.

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A Little Wisdom: The spirit of International Women’s Day