The theme for International Women’s Day this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” because 37 percent of women don’t use the internet and 259 million fewer woman have access to the internet than men.
If women aren’t able to access the Internet and don’t feel safe online, they’re unable to develop the necessary digital skills to engage in digital spaces, which diminishes their opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM related fields, according to the United Nations website.
The purpose of International Women’s Day is to help forge a gender equal world, celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality.
It was so exciting during the 1960s and 70s when the Women’s Rights Movement had it’s second wave. (The first wave began in the 1840s when women met to discuss their lack of rights including being denied the right to vote and to determine how they could change discrimination.)
I was so hopeful at the time that there would be true equality for women.
During the 1980s, I experienced discrimination as a journalist. I write about in my upcoming book “Follow the Money: How to Make Your Money Work for You.” When applying for a reporting job at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, I was told the “woman’s slot” was filled. In other words, they had one position for a woman reporter. I was a correspondent for The Review at the time, doing part-time work.
I moved to Alaska, and there I was able to get reporting positions. Then later, I worked for state government when I moved back to Washington state.
Although I have seen improvements in women’s lives, including those that allowed me to get jobs and save for retirement after my divorce, I’m appalled at a backlash that’s occurring all over the world against women.
I wrote a screenplay in the early 2000s called “NT,” which stood for naturally thin. It was about a secret society of men who reprogrammed a chip had been inserted into the wrist of women that caused weight loss. The men could cause a woman to go to sleep instead of being active.
I wrote it because one of the producers I met at a writers’ conference said my first screen play about the stresses faced by a woman land use planning director in Seattle was too dull for him to produce. At the time, I wondered where the idea for “NT” came from. It seemed really far out.
Now, we read in the news every day on how rights for women are being curtailed.
I was heartsick when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, and I knew that girls wouldn’t be allowed to attend school again. Today, I’m also heartsick when reading about girls being poisoned in Iran because some hate group doesn’t want girls to go to school.
In the United States, right-wing leaders are making gains in denying women the right to have an abortion. It just isn’t prolife to make women have babies and not provide them adequate support after they give birth.
Also unbelievable is the rise of groups of men who hate women, just like I envisioned when I wrote the “NT” movie script.
What’s happening these days sounds like the science fiction I thought up years ago; however, it’s a true fact that women are facing increased discrimination and abuse.
Domestic violence has gone up during the pandemic, and, unfortunately, human trafficking continues to occur. With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers prey on people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit, according to the U.S. State Department.
So, while we celebrate the success that have been made for women on International Women’s Day, we also need to determine what we can do to work for women’s rights.
Here are some groups that you can join or support with donations:
- League of Women Voters
- National Organization for Women
- Built By Girls
- Foundation for Women
- Time’s Up
- Association of Women in Communications
- Institute for Veterans and Military Families
- Women Who Code
- Amnesty International
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- Save the Children
- Human Rights Watch
- Equality Now
- Rise Up
- National Women’s Law Center
- Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Unfortunately, there’s still so much more that needs to be done to achieve equality for women.