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What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

IMG_0007 (2)Written by Hannah Worsley – Country To Canberra Teen Blogger

It’s International Women’s Day today!

Whether you’ve been counting down the days until your sneaky feminist-themed t-shirt matches the occasion, or you only discovered that it existed because Facebook made a profile picture filter, we can all agree that today is important.

Last year on ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ I decided to do a bit of a shout-out and find out what days like this mean to people of all ages, genders, nationalities, and political opinions.  I thought today would be a great day to share some of those responses.

“Days like today show girls that they can do anything they want without worrying about being ridiculed because it’s not “feminine” and “unladylike”.” – Female 19yo

“Our future rests on the girls of the world – let them know how important they are.” – Female, 18yo

“To me, today is about advocacy, empowerment, and passion-good for everyone, not just girls, and important for everyone, ESPECIALLY girls.” – Male, 24yo

“Inclusivity of LGBTIQ women in the feminist movement.” – Female, 63yo

“I want to wear my bikini; my friend wants to wear her burkini. Come on people, we both get criticised? #girlpower” – Female, 20yo

“I want my wife and daughters to feel safe everywhere they go, and I want other people to have that too.” – Male, 38yo

“I want my little sister to be able to play rugby!” – Male, 16yo

“In my country, the hijab is compulsory. I like wearing mine, my sister does not. Today is all about letting us decide things for ourselves, because WE ARE PEOPLE TOO! Women are powerful, smart, and strong, and we do not need decisions made for us.” – Female, 21yo

“Celebrating the diverse female excellence which flourishes from equal opportunity and education! Also celebrating freedom of expression of self: art, lit, sexuality, gender and opinion.” – Female 18yo

“It’s important to have International Day of the Girl as separate to International Women’s Day to recognise that while issues of gender inequality such as access to education, opportunity and disproportionate levels of sexual assault are global issues, those who are caught up in these struggles and even crisis are simply girls. Children who fundamentally want to play and be carefree just the same as boys. I think international day of the girl really humanises what the fight for gender equality is about – our kickass younger sisters.” – Female, 18yo

“Today to me is the silent stoicism of girls across the world who stay strong and steadfast in their beliefs, even when the loudest voice seems to be Trump’s sexism. They’re our true future leaders and change makers.” – Female, 18yo

This week I watched as eight boys, and just two girls got elected to my college’s leadership team. We need more female representation.” – Female, 19yo

“The Matildas earning nothing. I like soccer and they like soccer but I would get paid more just because I’m a guy. And put it this way-I wouldn’t want to play a game against them!” – Male, 17yo

“Holding our universities to account over their hopeless handling of sexual assault. Gender-related issues need to be taken seriously, from the ‘boys clubs’ that exist within colleges, to the rapes that occur on campus. Start treating this issue seriously! – Female, 19yo

“Honestly I hadn’t heard of it until it was on facebook today, but I recognise the importance of its aims regarding empowerment.” – Female, 19yo

“Today is important to me because it affirms me that no matter how much discrimination I may face, people are there to support me.” – Female, 19yo

“I know people will disagree with this but the way we treat Kim K for literally everything is not cool. Sex tape, who she marries, her children, her professional life, and even when she’s the victim of a crime. Today is about not dragging women through the mud for decisions they are totally entitled to make??” – Female, 23yo

” I would say today is important because it’s a reminder of how far we still have to go for gender equality! Even though women have made leaps and bounds in the past century, there are still so many girls and women worldwide who don’t have the opportunities I do as a woman in a first-world country.” – Female, 20yo

“Anything that helps to bring gender equality closer, and starts conversations about the issues that women and girls face around the world, has to be a good thing” – Male, 18yo

“I need International Women’s day because as an American woman, it’s my way to empower others to make a change, and to show that we’re stronger and mightier than the comments being made within our political system at present.” – Female, 21yo

Of all the blog posts I’ve written/been a part of writing, this is the one where I’ve written the least, yet been able to say the most. To me, International Women’s Day is exactly what these comments indicate-empowerment of women, encouragement for all those fighting gender inequality, and acknowledgement of the issue of gender discrimination.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?