International Women’s Day

Happy Wednesday, March 8: International Women’s Day. And, if you’re participating in the day’s events, it’s also a Day Without a Woman.

I’ve heard much poo-pooing of the protests going on this day, but I agree with them. In fact, I support my son’s teachers, who are taking the day off in honor of this Day Without a Woman.

Women are not appreciated in this country. We objectify and insult our female Marines. Our president’s multiple assaults on women pass with a few head-shakings and tongue-cluckings, but there he is. Our country’s mast-head, notoriously disrespectful of women.

I myself have transformed many times in my lifetime, professionally and personally, as a result of the most feminine thing a woman can do: birthing children. I felt apologetic about that, even using my motherhood as an excuse to explain my patchwork resume to future employers. I thought my story was unique, and maybe a touch shameful, that my personal (regrettable) choices to put my family and my sanity first, in not wanting to spend 90% of my waking time in an office and miss all my kids’ childhood, that all this was something to apologize for.

I’m discovering that my story is not at all unusual, that many women go through a version of personal, professional and financial penalization as a result of having to choose between motherhood and working in the big, wide world. To put it delicately: fuck that.

Is it getting better? Yes it is. The internet has revolutionized the workforce. Remote employers don’t care if there’s a spot of baby puke on my shoulder while I pound out my articles. But women are still discriminated against: called drama queens or bitches if they get upset at work, whereas a man throwing a fit is considered a power play. And, yes, women are still paid less than their male counterparts for the same jobs.

In other parts of the world, women are devalued even further: shot for voicing opinions, burned or stoned for going against male rules, raped as punishment.

The protesters today have been criticized for being privileged: they are the “safe” demographic, able to walk out of their jobs without fear of being terminated. But I applaud the use of that privilege to draw attention to the plight of women who can’t afford to make their stance known. Appreciate the women in your life, today and every day. We’re valuable.

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