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The Maastricht Diplomat

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8 March, IWD

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

You might think this is just another drowsy and slow Wednesday in Maastricht. Perhaps you have to sit through the horrors of an early 8.30 tutorial, have to bike through the downpour your weather-app optimistically describes as ‘showers’, or have to spend planted behind your desk to try and catch up on the heap of readings and assignments your ever-procrastinating self has undoubtedly created during carnival break. In short, today is going to be as irrelevant and inconsequential as any other dark and drizzly uni day, right? Wrong!

Today is 8 March, International Women’s Day!

A day marked in calendars across the world to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but perhaps most importantly, a global day highlighting the year-long call to action for accelerating gender parity.

For the battle towards gender equality is evidently not one fought solely today. Whether it’s campaigning for women’s reproductive rights in Africa, combatting child marriages in China, or defying the law by driving a car as a woman in Saudi Arabia – #thestruggleisreal , to put it in first world terms.

Speaking of which, women in our westernized society have reached equal footing with men. With access to university, politics, and the professional world, and the invention of the word fuckboy as a male equivalent to the word slut, women’s emancipation has reached its peak in the so-called developed world, right? Wrong, again.

A simple scroll through your social media feeds proves so. A Member of European Parliament shamelessly declaring that “of course women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent”, exceedingly low punishments linked to the rape culture at universities, and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson facing backlash after a supposedly un-feminist photoshoot for Vanity Fair are a few ridiculous examples you might encounter.

However, in a time where fake news, semi-lies and half-truths seemingly are the Holy Trinity of social media, let us also take a look at some hard numbers and the Global Gender Gap Report 2016, conducted by the World Economic Forum. The Netherlands, for example, ranks 16th out of 144 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index. Not too bad. Yet the scores for the four key indicators of the report are less promising. Economic participation and opportunity: 76th. Educational attainment: 60th. Political empowerment: 14th. Health and survival: 103rd. Definitely room for improvement, don’t you agree?

So, what can you do to contribute to gender parity?

Throughout the year, you can support various NGO’s dedicated to women’s rights, such as Plan International and Amnesty International. Additionally, you can stop judging women for their choices and ways in life. If Emma Watson, everyone’s favorite feminist witch, decides to pose for a magazine, be it starch naked or covered up entirely in Gryffindor colored fabric, then that is her good right. And as a girl or as a woman, you can read everything you can get your hands on, fuel your hunger for knowledge and study your brains out, prove ignorant MEPs and other simpletons who feel threatened wrong.

As for today, the 106th International Women’s Day,  you can enjoy the snapchat filters designed for the occasion, and you can ring up your mom to tell her you love her all year, but that today she gets a phone call.

Happy International Women’s Day!


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