From Blog Action Day:“We have the power to create the world we want to see when we raise our voice to promote positive change and expose unjust actions. However, those who their voices are often under attack. This Blog Action Day we will celebrate those heroes who raise their voice when faced with censorship, threats and even violence. We will raise our voices to defend their right to raise theirs. We will overcome silence with our words and actions. We will share their stories. We will fight for those whose voice has been silenced”.
Raise Your Voice for Women’s Rights
As a 10+ year Women in Racing advocate, I naturally hold the interest of advancing women in their endeavors very near to my heart.
Back then, they burned bras, now we BURN RUBBER. It’s the motto I first coined for this website. Women in Racing have for decades blazed trails to success in a male-dominated motorsports industry. But it wasn’t without conflict, as early pioneers to the sport could attest. Women like Shirley Muldowney and Lyn St. James fought through tough issues for entrance and acceptance that paved the way for all the female racers, crew, and professionals that succeed in the sport today.
But what about women in other parts of the world who are still fighting for basic human rights and freedom? Fighting not to be marginalized as property, but to be regarded as equal individuals and empowered to know their true worth? Women who endure horrible discrimination, violence, sexual abuse, and are subjected to gross exploitation and trafficking.
It is in knowing the struggles that women face and in knowing the limitless potential that empowering women creates, that we should seek to RAISE OUR VOICES for WOMEN’S RIGHTS.
Women’s Rights are HUMAN Rights
It’s a statement that seems to go without saying, but for some women, those rights are gravely violated, subjecting them to horrors of mutilations, sexual abuse, marginalization, and many, many more injustices. For many of us first-world athletes, the days of the Women’s Suffrage movement seem so far distant in history, that its hard to grasp the discrimination and abuse still present in other parts of the globe. Women’s rights for us have evolved from suffrage and burning bras, to today’s hot topics of gender equality. Successful female CEOs and celebrities speak out about feminism and removing the stubborn remnants that remain of eons of gender inequality- things like equal wages, objectification, and the labeling of strong and empowered women as bossy, aggressive, isolating, and anti-male. (One of my favorites: Emma Watson’s UN speech)
And though those type of issues still are present in every country on the planet, the more urgent and basic rights of some women, who have remained so repressed that they HAVE no voice of their own, THEY are the ones that truly need us most.
Demanding Equality Now
There are many organization working tirelessly to help bring support, protection, and advocacy for women suffering basic human rights violations. Organizations such as Equality Now, provide countless resources internationally to help focus on areas of abuse that plague women worldwide. These organizations fight for issues in law discrimination, by calls for the repeal of laws that discriminate against women in accordance with international and regional human rights standards, and for women’s access to justice at all levels. They take a front-line stance against Sexual Violence, not only by helping to prevent incidents of abuse through change in the negative stereotypes of women and girls that contribute to their objectification, but by ensuring that victims are afforded proper response- investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators. In conjunction with the United Nations, organizations band together to end female genital mutilation, a tortuous, cruel, and often deadly practice done to degrade and demean women in the most inhumane fashion and inflicted on between 100-140 million young women worldwide. They work to end human trafficking, a pervasive and under-reported crime that enslaves more than 12.3 million women and children, by seeking more sanctions against traffickers and buyers, and decriminalizing victims, instead providing rehabilitation and protective support.
Take Action- Speak Out
Organizations working to change legislation need your support in petitioning change from governing bodies internationally. There are plenty of ways to help speak out: from signing petitions, to writing letters seeking legal changes, to raising funds or volunteering your support in grassroots programs working on the frontlines to rescue women in repressed areas.
- Equality Now – Take Action: A listing of petitions and ongoing efforts to enact change that you can assist
- Feminist.com – Activism: Different programs designed to aid feminist efforts
- VSO International – Women in Power: A campaign to empower women and increase female presences in decision maker and public/political roles
- Women’s Rights – Human Rights Watch: Identifying issues on the global level and what is being done to combat them
- Global Fund for Women – Impact: Help raise the funds used to invest more than $110 million in support of 4,600 women’s groups across 175 countries, fulfilling the principle of getting core funding directly into the hands of women-led groups.
P.S. Feminist isn’t a Bad Word
A few years back, I made a comment online about a wonderfully insightful speech on feminism and the ‘He for She’ movement to aid in the elimination of gender discrimination. I prefaced my statement of praise by saying that I didn’t consider myself a ‘feminist’. Jim, a friend of mine and a respected journalist, quickly challenged my statement. He said to me, the “definition of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”, and if I did not identify with feminism, then which of those did I not support? Of course, my answer is that I wholeheartedly support all of those things, and that DOES make me a feminist.
Somewhere along the lines, feminism has been assigned a negative title meant to label women as men-hating, anti-establishment, reverse-misogynists. But gender equality isn’t just a female issue, as it also take the form of the stoicism and the enforced inability to express sensitivity and emotion for men, the devaluation of fathers in the family unit, and the gender stereotypes that perpetuate the entire situation. As Emma Watson said in her UN address, ‘If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.’ That is the voice we all should share equally.
What is Blog Action Day?
Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included Water, Climate Change, Poverty, Food, Power of We and Human Rights, with over 25,000 blogs taking part since 2007.
What do you Raise YOUR Voice for?
Thanks for joining us today and raising your voice for these issues.
I love your friend’s definition of feminism. I didn’t consider myself a feminist too for a long time.
Horsepower & Heels
Thanks so much Corinne. I didn’t consider myself a feminist because I wrongfully assumed that title was reserved for those much more educated than I in gender studies. But his comment really opened my eyes on the true meaning of feminism and how important that ALL of us are feminists, MEN included.
A powerful post on equality. I feel the struggle still remain today with discrimination against women and sexual violence cum harassment. There is nothing wrong with feminism and we must all do our bit for equality.