"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist
For All Who Care
International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Commemorating the movement for women's rights, it’s a global day for celebrating the achievements of women, remembering past struggles, and advancing gender equality.
But Women’s Day isn’t just about women. As Gloria Steinem stated, it’s about all who care about human rights. Like our posts on black history month, little guys with long hair, and hair discrimination...it’s about equality.
While hair may seem trivial in the context of equality, the fundamental ideas are the same. We should advocate for equality in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, values, belief systems, and all other forms.
Men Celebrating Women's Day
Today and every day we should honor the women in our lives: mothers, grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, spouses and partners, sisters, aunties, cousins, nieces, colleagues, acquaintances and friends.
With poor behaviors continuously surfacing in entertainment, politics, athletics and the workplace, it's more important than ever that we as men recommit to treating women with respect. Here are some dos and don’ts, best practices, and useful advice in observance and celebration of international women’s day.
Dos - Good Conduct
Things like opening doors, offering to help with luggage, pulling out a chair, and walking on the outside of the sidewalk are considered gentlemanly, though not everyone may welcome those gestures—some people just want to be treated like anyone else, and that’s fine too.
In any case, respect and good manners are always a good idea.
Don’ts - Bad Behaviors
“Locker Room Talk”
A term often used to excuse crass or offensive jokes, particularly those sexual in nature.
Sexist Jokes and Stereotypes
“Jokes” and stereotypes demeaning towards women.
Demeaning Terms and Phrases
Referring to women with derogatory terms.
Abuse of Power
Using a position of power as leverage.
Unwanted Advances or Physical Contact
Grabbing, slapping or touching in any way. Awful behavior that makes everyone look bad.
Striking and Physical Violence
Outside of possibly extreme situations, there is no cause to strike a woman.
Speaking down to in a belittling or disrespectful manner.
Disparaging or unfavorable treatment of women for being women.
Lead With Masculinity
As a community with a stated vision “...to develop masculinity,” we should recognize that true masculinity supports, empowers and depends on femininity. We should welcome that balance, set the right example, and admonish our fellow men to that end.
Sometimes that could mean calling out bad behaviors. This can test your comfort zone, but it’s an act of character and confidence. Here are a few situations where you can make a difference:
Don’t Laugh at the Locker Room Talk
A crude jokester always looks around for laughs and approval. Your silence or refusal to laugh will signal a “no-go.”
Don’t Tolerate Men Doing Bad Things
If you see a guy grabbing or touching women, tell a bartender, bouncer or security.
Speak Out Against Disrespectful Comments
“Whoa, hang on. Is there a better way to say what you mean without being disrespectful?”
Don’t Let Demeaning Terms and Phrases Slide
Instead, speak up. “I don’t call women bitches.”
“A lot of women I know are really smart.”
And Many Others
Seemingly small, nuanced situations like these make an impact, and put some action to the idea of supporting Women’s Day.
Takeaways for Men on Women’s Day
1) Don't be a bystander. Challenge poor behavior with courage and resolve.
2) Call the women in your life and show appreciation.
3) Educate young people, coach them up, and model the way in words and actions for how women and girls should be treated.
Here are other ways you can support International Women’s Day.
We as men have the power to affect equality. Let’s take this opportunity today, and every day, to be thankful for the women in our lives, express our gratitude, and be gentlemen.