IWD 21: #ChooseToChallenge
As we continue to celebrate International Women’s Month I can’t help but look back at this last week with disappointment, as I grapple with the sheer irony of the events that have unfolded. Then I think about the hashtag dedicated for this month and it seems to be foreshadowing what would happen. Women all around the world, in different age groups and from different walks of life, would choose to challenge the status quo and norm. #ChooseToChallenge is incredibly fitting for today’s current events
It was only Monday we celebrated International Women’s Day, on Tuesday Meghan Markle’s admission of her struggles with mental health and racism was plastered all over the headlines. By Wednesday the murder of Sarah Everard was all over the news, and on Saturday women were arrested at her vigil made front covers. It was on Sunday that it marked one year since the death of Breonna Taylor. Now, we’re fighting for our right to protest. It was an intense week to say the least.
What all this brought to light is the fact that so much work needs to be done. We look at how a woman who is considered of high status, a Duchess afterall, has divided public opinion. You would think a woman who contemplated suicide whilst heavily pregnant, or reached out for help and was denied it, would gain the sympathy of others. However, that wasn’t the response. It was received with contempt and suspicion. Her bravery to speak out was only commended by a few even though she chose to challenge and defy arguably one of the greatest establishments, and families in the world.
It’s sad that it took the death of a young girl to awaken us all to the realities of women everywhere. This was just one incident, there are the stories of so many other women that are yet to be told, women like Blessing Olesegun, whose stories don’t make it to mainstream media. The situation has brought great attention to the daily dangers that we face from just walking on the street. We’ve often reserved concern for women in developing countries but even here women often face danger even at the hands of those who are meant to protect us. Yet, in the UK women have decided to speak up and to challenge what has been deemed acceptable behaviour. We’re now questioning the unquestionable. No more accepting the once acceptable.
More and more women are choosing to challenge the things that we often just took on the chin, and refusing to accept inherited ideologies passed on without questions asked. People are using whatever platforms they have whether it’s conversations or through social media to get the ball rolling when it comes to change.
It’s inspiring us all to speak up whatever way we can to make those changes, to challenge the norms that were in fact toxic. This will require some uncomfortable conversations but ones that are necessary for us to move forward. This isn’t about men versus women, but it’s about moving towards justice for all of us - so that future generations of women can live in a world and society that keeps them safe, and offers them opportunity.
Even though this week has been challenging, triggering, and scary for so many of us, it’s empowering to see women choosing to challenge. It’s also a reminder to us all that there are so many women doing so much to change the world on a daily basis!