Shropshire Star

Why I think International Women's Day is completely out-of-touch with normal women

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

Last updated
On the march in 1975

Oh yawn! Here we go again. It’s March 8 so you better be ready for a full day of cringe-inducing quotes just like the one above.

It’s the time of year that everyone takes to social media and posts about how inspired they are by every woman they know.

It’s also the time of year when all of us lucky, lucky ladies of the world are supposed to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come.

We can vote, we can work, we can drive, we can be mothers and wives, or not, and we can boss it as good as the next bloke at the top levels of any company we choose. My goodness, what a lucky lot we are.

However, International Women’s Day is not a day that makes me feel inspired or particularly proud.

Is this a celebration of female achievement or are you, like me, finding it to be a token effort that patronises half of the population?

Shouldn’t equal rights in society be a given every single day.

Let’s not forget to mention the huge voids revealed by the gender pay gap, the huge barriers between the classes, body shaming, sexual harassment, the inflexibility over maternity leave.

Don’t even get me started on maternity pay – most women I know are up to their eyeballs in debt for the sheer audacity of wanting children and a career at the same time.

Life is not equal. Women can have it all but also have to morph into working, warrior mother types in a world of men to even try to have kids at the same time as having a career. And then, there’s the endless guilt felt every time you hear your offspring say ‘where are you going Mummy?’.

I’m a full-time working, and working class, mother-of-two. I’m a wife, a daughter and all that to boot.

International Women’s Day is just plain old Wednesday to me.

It is not something normal women care about – because quite frankly, we are too busy trying to put food on the table, having a career, trying to keep our kids alive and well, trying to keep ourselves alive and well and everything else in between.

So is this day something for middle-class women who have nothing better to do? Maybe.

I’m not saying I don’t agree with the premise of highlighting all that is great about women – and more importantly – how far we still have to go for equality, but this is not the way to do it.

Is this because feminism is so wildly out-of-touch with the majority of women like me? I think it is.

As the cost-of-living crisis rumbles on, how can we take messages from middle-class feminism seriously?

For most people right now, the main concern is paying the bills and putting food on the table.

Normal, working women AND men are concerned with gaining better wages for both sexes.

I can’t afford not to work full-time. I want to be a brilliant mum. I also want to have a career and be considered an equal to my male colleagues. I want to keep my home nice and clean. I want to have free time for myself, to exercise or to have a hobby and keep up with friends and family.

The saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ springs to the forefront of my mind everyday as I feel like I’m juggling a million plates.

Don’t get me wrong – if you can do all of the above with ease then I applaud you.

Let’s go back to the very start. The United Nations officially marked March 8 as International Women’s Day in 1975, but its history actually dates back more than 100 years.

It has always been intended as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

But how, I hear you ask, is it acceptable that all of these issues are still raging problems in our society today? How can we celebrate this all of these years later? Have we come far at all? It seems to me like we’ve stagnated.This society has a very long way to go.

So please keep your ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ messages to yourself.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want them. No, thank you to that.