Thursday, 9 March 2017

International Women's Day: Words aren't enough

If you hopped on social media yesterday, you may have seen the words 'International Women's Day' pop up on your screen here and there, often accompanied by an inspirational quote or image. March 8th is, if you hadn't already guessed, a day dedicated to women; it commemorates the women's rights movement, recognises our past and present struggles with inequality, and instills hope in women across the globe that those struggles will one day come to an end. It brings us together, letting every female know that the stigma they face as a woman is shared by many, and that they are not alone. It encourages us to express our right to freedom - of speech, of thought, of how we want to use our bodies - so it's no wonder why International Women's Day is on everyone's lips.

This day isn't anything new (however, thanks to third wave feminism and social media, IWD has become more widely recognised than ever before), having been first observed in the early 1900s during a time of rapid expansion in industry, a growing population and a rise in radical and rebellious ideologies. In 1908, 1500 women marched through New York City campaigning for shorter hours, better pay and the right to vote. This lead the way for women across the world, particularly in the UK, Russia and Europe, to campaign for and obtain equal rights.

It was these women that showed courage, initiative and perseverance when fighting for equality - something that should have been theirs by right as human beings in the first place. They put their reputations, their jobs, their relationships and even their lives on the line to obtain rights that we, today, might take for granted. Great women such as Emily Davison and Emmeline Pankhurst (and many, many more) died devoted to the cause, with some never living to see the fruits of their labour. They knew that the world needed to change, and they acted upon this knowledge despite the adversity they faced.

Would you say that you would do the same? When faced with sexism or misogyny, would you risk as much as these women in order to fight for your cause? This International Women's Day, I've seen so many women join in the conversation on social media, with hundreds posting encouraging status updates, taking photos with their female friends captioned with the hashtag #GirlBoss, and sharing blogs and articles promoting awareness. This is great and, of course, we should be utilising social media (especially if we have a large following) to spread the word - but is that enough?

Simply stating you're feminist won't end inequality. After all, actions speak louder than words, and although it's important to use your voice, you must also practice what you preach. Don't just jump on the hashtag because you think you'll look good in front of your friends and followers. If you truly want to end inequality, stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about women as a whole. We're all in this together.

If you're sitting there thinking, 'I don't have time to attend a march, or help out at a women's shelter, or start a petition', then that's okay. We invest our time into what we can. But the one way that we all should be able to contribute to this movement is to lend a helping hand to women in need in everyday situations. Instead of sniggering at the girl who has walked out of the toilet with her skirt tucked into her pants, shield her while she fixes it. Instead of walking on by while the mum with a buggy and a toddler is struggling with her shopping, offer to help carry her bags to her car. Instead of shaking your head at the woman who slipped over whilst wearing heels on an icy day, help her up and ask her if she's okay. You'll improve a fellow woman's day by a million percent if you just show some solidarity. It's really not hard, and it's something we should all be doing.

Although these actions might not instantly win the fight against inequality, they will help us to become a unit. We are stronger as a whole, and if we can prove that to each other, then this fight will be a lot easier to win.


As an added extra, I want to mention a few women who inspire me, who deserve more recognition and who rock the term 'feminism' with a capital F:

Keeks Reid - a great friend and a talented journalist, Keeks has a way with words which resonates with career girls that are obsessed with reality TV, comfort food and their girl squad. Subscribe to her newsletter, FlavouredLatte, for free here.

Kayleigh-Michelle - literally the nicest and most positive person you will ever meet, Kayleigh promotes the true meaning of a healthy lifestyle on her blog, Living Healthy & Beating Cancer.

Becca - I met Becca at my first full-time job, and we've stayed friends ever since. She's instantly likeable, and cares so much about her friends - plus, she knows so much about beauty! Read her blog, Becca Writes, here.

Sara Meess - A beautiful person inside and out, Sara is more than happy to help her friends and fellow bloggers out, and blows me away with her confidence. Read her blog, Diary of Fashion, here.

Zoe Dubs - A beauty writer and blogger, Zoe is so easy to get on with, and has amazing style. I met her at a photo shoot and she was always smiling and so happy to chat. Read her blog, Face Value Beauty Blog, here.

Capture the Moments - this Insta-blogger is the queen of pretty food flatlays on her personal page, @capturedthemoments_, and promotes the foodie creations of people all over the world on her second page, @whatimmakingfordinner_. A genuinely nice person, she never hesitates to give a compliment when she sees something she likes.

Carms - this girl is so incredibly beautiful and down to earth at the same time! I've only met her a couple of times, but she was so happy to chat and give advice on blogging to help a girl out. Read her stunning fashion and lifestyle blog, Carms London, and prepare to be inspired by her style.

Fashion For Lunch - Despite her thousands of followers, this incredibly creative woman was happy to take time out to chat to me about her world (read our interview here). Her Instagram profile is one of my favourites to look at, as it's so colourful and unique.

Carly Cristman - I love Carly's YouTube channel because she keeps it real, giving out super helpful career, blogging and fashion advice while showing you the 'behind the scenes' of her life (i.e. what you DON'T see on Instagram).

Who are your favourite females that you think deserve more recognition?

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