I have been a bit befuddled with regards to International Women’s Day. There have been so many differing accounts of what this day means that I have read and heard and seen that it seems to mean different things to different people. I think it’s fair to say that most rational Americans agree that women are equal in America, and that countries that abuse women are wrong. No argument there. But enough already! I don’t need to be celebrated for being a woman. We have special days and events and protests and marches about women, Hispanics, immigration, Black Lives, Trump haters and so many more causes. My head just hurts with the shrillness of it all, and the violence of some of it.
Amongst the variety of reasons for protests, I’ve heard that we need to be concerned about all the horrible things Trump is doing to women and their rights, and I can’t think of any as of yet. I’ve heard that women are still behind the curve on equal pay for equal work, and I am for that premise, but have questions on how those stats are determined. Many, if not most, employers are so appreciative of a really good employee, they would be foolish and self-defeating to not pay the best wages for the best work, regardless of the sex of the employee. Good employees are golden and women have choices to stay or go in their jobs if they are not treated fairly. I just don’t see us as victims.
I spoke to many women who don’t have any idea what all the fuss is about, and resent any group calling out for any special treatment or recognition. They just want to stop all the noise and live their lives and work their jobs and raise their families. They don’t feel oppressed, or angry, or mistreated by society. They don’t have a need to call special attention to themselves.
What bothers me most is two things. The women who took off work to make their point about how valuable women are, hurt lots of other women. Teachers who took a day off hurt lots of moms whose kids go to those schools. Many of those moms and dads had to take a day off without pay and many of those people could not afford to do so. How is it fair if they had to use a personal day or a vacation day that they had every right to have used how they wanted to use that valuable time? These activists also hurt the students they teach, and the taxpayers who pay them to teach. Our ladies in government jobs stopped the work we hired them to do to rally and protest. That’s not what I and all women who pay taxes are paying them to do. Women who stayed home from other jobs added pressure to other female employees and women business owners. I have a problem with a man and a woman in an office, working at the same type of job. Women want equality in the workplace, but the woman takes off to go to this protest, leaving the man to pick up her workload. How does that equate to equality in the workplace? How would it work if the male coworker did the same? What would the rhetoric say then? How is that forwarding a cause? It seems pretty selfish to me. It’s about personal responsibility. Everyone seems to think they are owed something just for being a…fill in the blank of the day here.
And where is the day for men? More college graduates are women. More women are starting businesses than men. More women are entering the professions in many areas than men. I celebrate everyone’s success in the business world, but I don’t celebrate one over the other and I can’t bask in the success of women without feeling concern for the statistics showing men on a downward trend in the areas mentioned. Men are equally important to our economy and our businesses and our families, and somewhere that seems to be getting a bit overlooked. This almost militant feminist attitude is not helping move anything forward, and the loud few cause resentment in others who are going about their work and life and making good for their families.
I’ve lived in men’s worlds and done jobs that were almost exclusively men’s jobs when it wasn’t popular to do it. But I never had the need to toot a horn about it. I just did the things I needed to do to survive and succeed the best way I knew how. We should celebrate everyone equally, not with special days for “special” people as though anyone else is less. Life and families and businesses need all of us, with all of our individualities and varied skillsets to make the wheels of life go round seamlessly.
I am a woman, who owns a business, who employs mostly women, every one of them important. If one or two of my employees chose to take the day off to join this protest, the other women would have been buried with work. I would have been under water. I can’t see how this would have helped do anything but cause resentment between employees.
I don’t need to be celebrated for being a woman. I would choose to be celebrated for the ways in which I can enhance others’ lives by whatever I have to give, and all of our gifts are different. I believe in earning my way to respect and income and whatever level of success I can achieve. Demanding it and protesting about it won’t make it so. Perhaps we stop the demanding, the anger and the protests and find the gifts and skills that we each have to offer in our life and our job, and reap and share the rewards that being a better person, better employee, better partner, and better role model for future generations brings.