8 March 2022

Another 8 March. And still we have to march and speak up for women’s rights. For our right to control our own bodies. Our reproductive health. For our right to marry of our own will, when we come of legal age, and not as child brides. We have to fight for maternity wards and access to mid-wives, for contraceptives and informed family planning. We have to fight for access to free and safe abortion. For equal status and equal rights. For women’s health to be taken as serious as men’s health.

It is true that in some countries women has fought and won certain rights, and that on paper there’s equality between the genders. But putting something on paper, doesn’t mean it works like that in real life. Men are still over-represented in higher positions. Women are still over-represented in low-income jobs and part-time jobs.

Women are still being labelled “hysterical” if they speak in a loud voice and gesticulate, while a man is deemed to be “powerful”. Girls are still taught to be nice, gentle and caring, while boys are expected “to be boys”.

Women are still blamed for sexual assault, when in fact they are the victim. They are asked questions about their way of dressing, and their behaviour. Because they must have done something to attract a man’s attention. When in fact it’s the man who has shown no respect for the woman.

I write this while there is an ongoing war in Ukraine. A war set in motion by Putin. I cannot even start to imagine the horrors the Ukrainian people are living right now. Parents, grand-parents and children taking shelter from the bombing. Heroic women and men fighting the Russian army.

As we march for women’s rights on this particular 8 March, let us also march for all the innocent victims of this war, and every other war. We are women, we are able to carry two thoughts at the same time, and to multi-task!