#InternationalWomen'sDay

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I’m observing this global holiday by ... 

coming to work. 

Yes, though women the country over are urging me to prove my importance by staying home from work today — really sticking it to the men I work with so they can see JUST HOW VITAL I AM to the work at here WORD-fm — I came anyway.  Why?  Because it’s just decent.  It’s the right thing to do.  And really, how bad is my day-to-day life as an American woman anyway?

According to CNN, International Women’s Day is designed to "reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities," as detailed on the United Nations' website.

Ok. I like that.  Setting aside some reading time to honor some smart, accomplished, courageous women, that’s a good use of the day.

However.

Like everything else in our country right now, it’s politicized.  And ratcheted up.  And really angry.  Calling it "A Day Without a Woman,”  this has become a strike — and it’s garnered support from the organizers of the recent Women's March on Washington.  Women are being urged to take the day off from work, only shop at "small, women- and minority-owned businesses," and wear red in solidarity.

And it’s happening.  Several schools in at least four states were closed today so teachers could participate in the strike.  In Virginia, Alexandria City Public Schools announced they would close schools for the day after more than 300 staff members requested a leave.  "This is not a decision that was made lightly," Alexandria Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley said in an email Monday to parents.

Look, I’m a woman.  And I’m all about a fair working environment.  I want to be equally compensated and treated well in the workplace.  But … … how is a strike going to prove that?  If I’m at home and not doing my job and therefore making all the men I work with have to do double to make up for me not being there — how does THAT further my interest in fair play?  Seems more like it’s just going to make everybody frustrated.  And angry.  But OH.  That’s really what the point is. 

To make everyone just a *little* more angry.

Did you know that the U.S. has the highest proportion of women in senior management positions (43 percent) of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development?  Did you know that the U.S. was ranked eighth globally in gender equality by the World Economic Forum?  Did you know that 24 percent of working American women are in professional fields (compared to only 16 percent of working American men), and that 46 percent of American firms are owned or co-owned by women?

Seriously, what am I supposed to be so angry about?  I’m the ONLY woman in my department (the ratio is 6 men: 1 woman [me]), I’m treated well in my workplace, and even if I wasn’t (and this is a big audience, I’m sure many of you women listening aren’t treated well at work, I get that) — but would I prove anything, would I further my cause one iota — by striking so that all the men I work with have to work harder?  Will my inherent value as a woman suddenly be noticed and honored if I just don’t show up??

Of course not.  But again, that’s not the purpose of the strike. 

The real point is to make everyone just a little more angry, and I’m sure it’ll work.

But think about what could have been:  what if we women in America who feel like we’ve experienced great freedom, opportunity and success, marched in GRATEFULNESS (it sounds weird, but work with me for a minute).  What if there was a movement of thanks, an acknowledgment of those women who’ve fought for equality, a gigantic chorus of THANK YOU.  Even, dare I say — to the men in our society who’ve welcomed us, treated us fairly, and valued our work?  

Then we’d be able to stand for the women who really suffer the world over — girls who are forbidden in schools, who are covered to suit the needs of men, who don’t have opportunity in the workplace, whose aspirations are extinguished and whose futures are predetermined, who are exploited and trafficked — those women suffer right now, and their injustice is cheapened by us, here in America, always having to be on center stage.  And our lack of common gratitude for what we have.

I’m glad I came to work. 

It’s good to have a radio show.  I like the guys in the programming department.  And there was leftover pizza in the station refrigerator.  Things could be a lot worse.

Kathy EmmonsComment