International Women’s Day focuses on equality

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TWH – The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” which is also reflected in the hashtag #EachforEqual.

The last two years have seen more women front and center, taking active roles in politics. Young women like Greta Thunberg have brought attention to serious issues like climate change. But women still must fight for equal pay, sexual and reproductive health and rights, bodily autonomy, and ending gender-based violence.

TWH’s Clio Ajana struck a poignant note in her column yesterday that reflects the spirit of how women move forward in history, both in creating new paths forward, and honoring those who came before them.

Women’s History Month can be about many things. I choose to look at those women who have influenced how I view the world and how I march my path in the world. I say march and not walk, as it is not always a sedate stroll or a fast jog, but a determination to place each step with forceful energy and care. In this world, the winners and those who speak determine the history to be known by our descendants. For those who may not make the history books, each of us can take a step each day in the march of remembrance that our loved ones will know and record for the future. ~ Clio Ajana, TWH

Back in 2013, in a blog post on Women Writers, Women’s Books, K.A. Laity had this to say about the challenges women face and what it takes for them to succeed:

We need a thicker skin to protect us from the acrimony of a world that punishes women for daring to have ambition. We need a thicker skin to defend us from the vitriol of troll culture online. We need a thicker skin to immure us from the suffocation of the silencing weight of indifference. Women are taught to need approval and it’s big hurdle to leap to get beyond that desire.

Surround yourself with positive people who also create. “Positive” means they believe the act of creation is a success in itself. They are part of your skin. When the bad days come—and they will always come, no matter how long you have been working at this—they will help you deflect doubt and discouragement. You will strengthen one another; a few like minds are enough to keep you going.

March is set aside as a month-long celebration of women in history and their many accomplishments. Yet, the same issues are still being rehashed and re-fought every step of the way.

There is plenty more work to do. Our editor-in-chief, Manny Tejeda-Moreno, had a look at the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Reports for 2020. His first scientific paper a quarter of a century ago looked at validating a measure for employment egalitarianism. The report has some good news, in that it shows an “accelerating gender parity.” Tejeda-Moreno said, “that means that the rate at which the gender gap is closing is faster, so we will hopefully see parity sooner.”

Source: Global Gender Gap Report 2020 [World Economic Forum]

“But, the report still shows that the patriarchy is alive and well. The gaps for political empowerment and economic opportunity are embarrassing,” Tejeda-Moreno added. He said, “their data show Iceland is getting close to a score of 90 in terms of overall gender parity and Spain has jumped up tremendously in the rankings. Still only, only five nations have a score over 80.”

In terms of ranking, Nordic nations account for 4 out of the top five.  The UK is ranked 21, with a score of 76.7, and USA is #53, with a gender gap score of 72.4.

Tejeda-Moreno added, “The direction is still good, but the political establishment that’s, bluntly, composed of old straight cis men, needs to get away from the ‘power shared is power lost’ mentality.”

Those changes are coming about, and Witchcraft is giving voice to creating parity.

Witchcraft has become a banner that many feminists and those fighting for true gender equality have gathered under. As Laura Tempest Zakroff said to Caitlin Howe in an article for Motif, “100% That Witch”:

You can connect it with the various waves of feminism — especially as a means to reclaiming personal power as well as the search for spirituality that is more connected to the body and the earth — and being able to see the divine as multi-faceted and accessible (not just some old white guy). What I believe is different today is that we’re seeing a much more diverse group of people interested in witchcraft — folks who are queer, non-binary, young and old, from many different backgrounds and experiences.

In the past year, we have seen more books hit the mainstream that has some level of “Witchy” content than ever before. Pam Grossman sums it up very nicely:

“The witch is the ultimate feminist icon because she is a fully rounded symbol of female oppression and liberation.”
—Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

Today marks the 109th anniversary of International Women’s Day. While women have come a very long way, it seems we still have a long way to go before women reach true equality.

There is magick that can be done. In Lucya Starza’s “Every Day Magic – A Pagan Book of Days,” Dorothy Abrams is quoted on how to engage International Women’s Day magickally:

A time to reflect on femaleness. Women may be half the world’s population, but they are not yet standing as equals in authority, wealth or leadership. Today imagine the Goddess in everywoman showing her strength to the world. Reflect on the progress made, not the gaps and goals. Find your own female Self (men and women) and be unapologetic. Praise her hard work. Honor her perseverance. Celebrate her creativity. Then find a woman important to you and do the same for her.

As the IWD makes clear, an “equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”