‘Each for equal’, is one phrase that was used a lot on Sunday, the 8th of March. This is because it was the International Women’s Day. Originally set aside by European women to protest not being able to vote among several other societal discriminations, it has overtime evolved into what we have now. A day to celebrate entire female gender which is every woman for being and thriving despite the chains that society has bound our feet in.
What Even is Each For Equal?
The International Women’s Day, is also a day set aside to examine how far the march for equality has come and to highlight the steps to be taken. This year’s celebration was tagged ‘Each for Equal’. Meaning everyone, taking a stand for equality in terms of social, political and economic rights for the marginalised female gender. It is everyone marching for every girl child to get an educat and not domesticated and then espoused. Simply because she’s viewed as a liability that’ll soon change her surname.
And also, that in school, she can study any course of her choice and not just ‘women subjects.’
Afterwards, that she gets a well-paying job where she’s not paid less than her colleague simply for not owning a penis.
Eventually, when she lends her voice to societal issues and her back to political ones. Or just chooses to live unapologetically by her own terms, she wouldn’t be ridiculed or called names. She’ll be viewed as a human exercising her rights.
You see, it’s a vicious cycle that affects all of us because a woman is a very valid part of society. The other half. If she’s torn down by poverty, diseases, harassment, marginalization, etc. How can the society thrive? In fact, gender equality is so important, that the United Nations has it listed as number five on their list of sustainable development goals that’ll make the world a better place.
The Importance of Each for Equal
Therefore, the International Women’s Day is not just a day to wish the women in your life happy women’s day, extol her qualities, clean mouth and go. Or use the hashtag of ‘each for equal’ on your social media pages and move on. Leaving women, to walk through the valley of the shadow of patriarchy on the journey of attaining gender equality.
Here are 5 Pointers to Keeping to Each for Equal all Year Round:
1. Study on Gender Equality and Feminism
Everyone should be a feminist because we stand to gain so much from it. Economically, politically and socially. So as not to end up seeming obtuse and insensitive like some of the campaigns ran by companies on the 8th of March, study extensively on feminism. Read up on its tenets and examine how this movement has served to liberate women and make the world a better place.
2. Put Yourself in Women’s Shoes
Before you ask why women are angry, bitter and striving for equality, close your mouth and instead take a moment to imagine a life where you’re disadvantaged because of your gender.
If you’re also one of those women that don’t understand feminism or subscribe to it, imagine a world without the changes implemented by feminism and see for yourself why and how you’ve betrayed yourself and your gender.
3. Engage in Social Activism
Tweaking the words of past American president, JFK, don’t ask what gender equality can do for you, ask what you can. So, instead of complaining that the boys are being neglected or forgotten, do something for the boys. Instead of complaining that only women are being empowered, empower your men too. If you see something that detracts from the goal of equality, lend your voice to shutting it down. Openly condemn such online or in person. Protest in reality or virtually. Tweet, write petitions etc. Do not keep mute. Gender equality isn’t for one gender but rather for everyone. It is each for equal so we’re in this together.
4. Be Open to Learning and Unlearning
For this to happen, you have to accept that patriarchy has done a number on all of us. You are a victim as much as the next person is. However, your mind is the key to liberation. Learning and unlearning is one of those processes that affirm our humanity, it’s part of life. As a result, don’t yourself up over mistakes or misconceptions that you had. Simply apologise to whoever you offended while in the dark and move on to making a change.
5. Empower the Younger Ones
More than anything, the each for equal march is to ensure that the coming generation live in a better world than us. A world where there are no boundaries on what any child can do or can be. This is why European and American women in the early 19th century protested for women’s rights. It should also be at the back burner of our minds. Speak to the younger ones and with your words and actions, lift them out of the pit of patriarchy. The future lies in gender equality and you are now one of its guardians.
Finally, if you’re still eating from the pot of burnt beans that is patriarchy, please allow we the ‘daughters of Jezebel’ and the heforshes or ‘pick mes,’ to enjoy the jollof rice that feminism has placed on our table while we wave the each for equal flag.