Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, March 8th 2015 is International Women's Day. For me this day is a day to cherish the women in my life, the women all around the world of different religions, cultures, races and nationalities. But also it’s a day to cherish myself, as a young woman in the 21st century here in Ireland. Of course, you should celebrate being a women every single day, but today is a day reminding YOU of just how important you as a woman, are important to society. Regardless of where you come from. I am lucky that in Ireland women have the right to work, wear what they wish to an extent and I have my own free will. Some women are not so lucky.

The logo for #HeForShe.

Everyone knows that women still are not equal to men today. We still get lower pay, less employment opportunities and experience a lot of sexism in our daily lives. Women experience so much prejudice in their daily lives. Women are subjected to extreme scrutiny by the media and men.

Women's bodies are valued over their brains. It's a fact. Take for instance if you read magazines you will see that beauty is still valued over brains in the 21st century. Look at magazines, tabloid newspapers, what do you see? Pictures of women in bikinis, articles talking about women losing weight and gaining weight. It's horrifying.

An example I will give you is that of Amal Alamuddin. She has married one of the world's most famous actors, George Clooney. She is very attractive and anytime I've seen or heard anything about this woman it has been in discussions of her beauty. The fact that is Amal is desirable overshadows her professional life as a highly intelligent and successful lawyer. I am not saying beauty shouldn't be celebrated, I'm saying that intelligence should be an important aspect to a woman and it should be celebrated, not treated as something to shy away from. Intelligence is so so sexy, in both sexes.

Amal Alamuddin

Emma Watson is one woman in particular that I note celebrating this important day.
Of course this young woman is on everyone’s list. She’s one of the few young women in the public eye that I see actually using the international influence and fame she has to encourage change. Her campaign, #HEFORSHE is gaining support daily and I encourage you, whoever you are to check it out! She is highly intelligent and I can’t wait to see what she does next in relation to gender equality. Her stance on feminism, is that it is not about hating men, it’s about educating men and encouraging them to support women.

Go here to watch her Q and A about HeForShe and gender equality:

Her UN speech is a must watch:

I found some facts on that I want to share with you:

1. Every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable, but due to gender-based discrimination many women are not given the proper education or care they need.

2. As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. Take a stand and collect cell phones to benefit domestic violence programs. Sign up for Cell Phones for Survivors.

3. Women make up 80% of all refugees and displaced people. Instruments of genocide such as sexual violence and rape are often directed at women and girls.

4. Women are seldom included in formal peace processes. Women are usually not represented among decision-makers and military leaders, the usual participants in these processes.

5. Women gained the right to vote in America in 1920.

6. As of January 2012, women held 15.1% of all presiding officer posts in governments the world.

7. More than 16.4 million women in the world have HIV/AIDS.

8. The US government estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 victims (mostly women and children) are trafficked globally each year, and 14,500 to 17,500 are trafficked into the US.

9. Women account for 70% of the population living in absolute poverty (on less than $1.00 a day).

10. Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.

11. 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.

12. Switzerland's women were only granted the right to vote in 1971. Less than 50 years ago.

A page I recommend you liking on Facebook is UN Women. It posts facts on women, some facts you may not have known about. It shows a stark contrast between the sexes and it encourages everyone to try bring about change wherever you are, to promote equality.

Think about the important women in your life, be it your personal life or someone in the public eye. Why do they inspire you? What can YOU do to promote gender equality in your own area?
My living grandmother and my mother are two women that inspire me. It may seem like an obvious choice but when I sit back and think of all the work they've put into raising me and looking after me, I feel guilty that I have not appreciated them as much as I could have. My life is a lot easier than theirs was when they were my age. I know that now and I need to note to myself to remember that and be more grateful for their strength and dedication.

Facts from the UN Women Facebook page.

Thanks so much for reading and be SURE to celebrate this day every year on its assigned day and appreciate the women in your lives every day of the year.

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