Sunday, 8 March 2015

What about the other 364?

In 2013 Marin Alsop became the first woman to conduct The Last Night of the Proms.  The final night traditionally has a party atmosphere,. However, Marin did not let the moments moment go unmarked, as she expressed her surprise that in 2013 we were still celebrating firsts for women, and to the delight of those watching, dedicated the evening to progress.

Today there have been lots of memes circulating on Facebook celebrating International Women's Day, and while it is good to celebrate achievements of women, I find it rather sad that we need to dedicate a day to it.  It leaves me wondering what we are celebrating on the other 364 days of the year?  If we were to be fair then we should be celebrating the achievements of women on 182.5 days of the year.  Does that imply that we couldn't celebrate any female achievements on the remaining days? Would the days alternate?  Would we accidentally omit to celebrate an achievement or anniversary, just because it fell on the wrong day? It would be a veritable minefield!

It is a sad reflection on our world, that there are countries where women are still seen as second class citizens, and that there are countries, who by their restrictive practices, chose to miss out on the potential talents of half their citizens.  I think of the schoolgirls who have gone to Syria, believing in a cause that will not believe in them - a cause that regards them merely as 'rewards' for those fighting a war.

Instead of celebrating International Women's Day I will chose to celebrate the achievements of people who are working to make the world a better place for all.  I celebrate those who :-
  • Care for and speak out for the more vulnerable members of society. 
  • Work hard to find cures for diseases.
  • Create items of beauty that stir hearts.
  • Are prepared to risk their lives to help others.
  • Quietly get on with living good lives and strengthening their communities.
I celebrate those who do these things, male or female.