Happy International Women’s Day (and an observation)

Happy International Women’s Day, a moment on the calendar we’ve reserved to acknowledge the contributions, advancement, and continuing social progress of women throughout the globe. If you want to become more involved with closing the gender gap, visit www.internationalwomensday.com to learn what you can do.

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If I may just think out loud for a moment, I feel kind of disgusted that International Women’s Day is an actual thing. It’s not like today is International Club-Footed Bi-Racial Transgendered Human Day, where we really need to set aside a day in order to get people to recognize that these people even exist, let alone that they’re getting a raw deal in our collective human culture. No, women make up 50 percent of the human population, and always have. Everybody is aware of their existence, and it couldn’t hardly be clearer that they’re not treated the same as men, even in the most enlightened and progressive societies on Earth. From wage disparity to employment opportunities to the manners of our own vocabulary (the fact that “throwing like a girl” is still such a slight against any boy on a playground), our mothers and sisters and friends and lovers and fellow human beings are living lives that we consistently fail to appreciate.

If you go to Google today, you’ll see a video that they put together featuring women of the world in celebration of International Women’s Day. Right at the beginning, there’s a young girl who says, with an impeccable air of confidence, that “one day we will play in the major leagues” as two of them are seen swinging an animated bat at an imaginary ball. Just think about that for a second. At that sentiment, my mind stopped, and I could barely pay attention to the rest of the video. Because something about this statement seemed ridiculous. And I couldn’t shake the thought that there is absolutely no reason why this should be a mad request, why female athletes shouldn’t be able to go to bat on the same level playing field with their male counterparts. But it is! Much in the same way that we once had Negro Leagues in sports, I have no doubt that some day we’ll look back on the antiquity of women’s leagues as a bizarre type of chauvinism that’s best left to a less-enlightened time of our history. And just like I said near the beginning of this piece, I’m just disgusted that we’re not there yet.

As a whole, we can be proud of the hard-won cultural advancements that have been made, but we mustn’t confuse progress with arrival. According to the World Economic Forum, we’re not on track to closing the gender gap until 2133, a year no one alive today is likely to see. But social progress often makes unexpected leaps and bounds. Let’s see we can bring that auspicious date closer.

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