Some Belated Thoughts on International Women's Day

One of the most important things we can do as women is to support the strength of other women. When we undermine the concerns of another woman, when we downplay her righteous anger, when we say to others that she 'just gets that way sometimes', 'had a hard life', or 'simply doesn't understand', we are saying to the world that the voices of women are not worth hearing. It is a fundamental betrayal, a violation of trust and it does harm to all women everywhere.

This is especially true in the face of casual misogyny. Our culture still supports this disempowerment of women at the hands of men by downplaying the significance of it or dismissing the objections of women who are victims of it. Men who disempower women with their casual words and behaviors are often excused because of their advanced years, their cultural milieu, their odd sense of humor and so forth, while the women who defend themselves against this disempowerment are often told they need to be more understanding, more flexible, more relaxed. This is wrong, and any participation whatsoever in this social contract is again a fundamental betrayal and a violation of trust that does harm to all women everywhere.

We cannot hope for equal pay, equal access to medical care, equal treatment from our governments and other institutions in the macrocosm while we continue to condone marginalizing behavior by individual men in the microcosm. We cannot hope to be heard ourselves if we undermine other women when they speak out about these abuses. We cannot have a just and civil society while men recruit fathers, husbands and brothers against their daughters, wives and sisters, while men seek to quash the strength of women they find threatening, while men try to shut women up. Age is irrelevant. Cultural milieu is irrelevant. Misogyny isn't funny, no matter who laughs.

So for my sake and for the sake of every woman passed over for a raise, patronized by a doctor or dismissed by the institutions she turned to for aid, I cannot remain silent in the face of this hurtful thing, nor will I ever speak out against another woman who is subjected to it.

Thank you for reading, and Happy International Women's Day.