Can we stop celebrating International Women’s Day (already)?
It has always struck me as strange and a little sad that we need to set aside a day just to celebrate women and their achievements. Does that mean that for the rest of the year, we do not care or we cannot be bothered with it? It is only when true gender equality is achieved, then can we do away with Women's Day.
Women’s Day has been in existence since 1909. It was organized in New York to
fight for equality in women’s rights and women’s suffrage.
We may have made some progress over the past 100 over years but a lot
remains to be done, from the much lower female representation in business and
politics to prevalent sexual harassment, to vast status differences in some parts
of the world.
While we may not be able to change the world overnight, we can move forward in the right direction by starting right at home, starting from our own children. There are 5 simple steps we can take at home. Every little step forward counts:
1. Offer diverse choices in basic things like clothes and toys, even for babies.
Do girls only wear pink and boys only wear blue? Do boys only play with
cars while girls only play with dolls? From young, we are propagating
gender stereotyping if we earmark certain colours or toys for either
This is my son's pink @Maxi-Cosi car seat. This beautiful shade of pink looks much better than the blue seat (in our opinion).
Photo credit: @leialauren
I think my son looks great in pink and have been dressing him in apparel. This is a set of pink pants and blue top that he has from @leialauren.
2. Encourage different hobbies.
Are boys only allowed to learn taekwondo but not ballet? If your son wants to learn ballet, would you say yes? Is judo too rough a sport for girls?
While these stereotypes may be deemed to be harmless, they propagate
further differences in our children’s life choices e.g. fewer girls major in
engineering and science; this may result in a loss of talents in the relevant
3. Allow both girls and boys to express their feelings, even when they cry.
Do we only allow girls to cry? Do we tell our sons that boys do not cry? This
implies that only girls who are weak do, creating an unhealthy mindset for
both genders. Boys do not get to express their feelings while girls are
taught that they are only allowed to cry because they are expected to be
4. When reading to our kids, we can point out sexism when it appears.
E.g. is the princess always the one who is waiting to be rescued by a
5. Check our own attitude to gender stereotyping.
Culturally, we have been brought up with gender stereotyping by our families, society and popular culture. Be conscious about our own mindset and rectify it when gender stereotyping manifests in our conversations and actions.
A positive attitude towards gender equality starts from young and the home is the best place to start, even for parents who only have boys. Hopefully, it will not take another 100 years before we can finally have our last International Women’s Day. We are heartened by mother @rosystars whose son and daughter are both using our pineapple sling bag (some may think that the heart shape print on the bag is only suitable for girls).
Photo credit: @rosystars
When we have true gender equality, there will no longer be a need for Women's Day.
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