8 Memorable Moments From 2017’s International Women’s Day

8 Memorable Moments From 2017’s International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 8th March, and has been since the early 1900’s. On each year, past achievements for gender equality are remembered and current issues that need to be overcome are highlighted.

Millions of people all around the world get involved in the occasion and the day makes for some great moments. The following are just 8 that stood out to me!

1. The Statue of Liberty Goes Dark

Although it was explained as an unplanned power outage, the timing was all too perfect. Late Tuesday night, the predominant lights of the Statue of Liberty went dark leaving an eery yet  impactful symbol. For this years IWD, many were participating in ‘Day Without a Woman’, and what better way to kick it off?

2. Girl vs Wall Street Bull

A statue of a young girl standing down the famous Wall Street bull was implemented, creating another powerful image and message. The statue was quickly branded as the “fearless girl” and it’s primary purpose is to highlight the issue of the lack of women on corporate boards. Not only this, but it makes a great statement. The girl is facing the bull head on, fists on hips, ready for what faces her. It’s a great message of female empowerment and should give us all that extra bit of confidence to stand up to our troubles.

3. Iceland’s Equal Pay Ruling

Another key highlight of this years IWD was Iceland announcing a new law that states companies must prove they pay their employees the same, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity, or sexuality. This should be enforced by 2020 and is greatly significant. Iceland are now the first country to have implemented a mandatory equal pay law, so hopefully many more will follow in their footsteps.

4. Women March in Pakistan

When it dominates the news and social media, it’s sometimes easy to only focus on the big city marches, and forget about other areas. These are women that face prejudice, abuse and turmoil every day and them getting out on the streets and campaigning for their rights should be recognised. Some of the women who participated in the march were acid attack survivors, which adds even more power and feeling to the images.

 

5. Ireland March for Abortion Rights

The abortion laws in Ireland are extremely strict and horrifying, and it’s almost completely banned across the country. The 8th Amendment (1983) outlaws abortion, including in circumstances of rape. Not only does this go against a woman’s choice, but it also means that many result to having unsafe abortions. Thousands of women (and men) marched through Dublin and other areas of Ireland protesting the laws in an effort to get it repealed.

6. Tattoos for Planned Parenthood

Hundreds of women got themselves empowering tattoos to show their support for Planned Parenthood. The proceeds of which were donated to the organisation. Plus, the women who participated in the event were able to get a permanent, visual representation of their strength to wear on their skin forever.

7. Emma Watson Scatters The Streets With Books

Emma Watson spent a good portion of her IWD spreading feminist and educational books around the streets for passersby to discover. Some of the locations she did this at included the statues of Eleanor Roosevelt, Gertrude Stein and Harriet Tubman. This is a great way to get people educated and invested in equality so hopefully they went to the right hands!

8. This Video

In case you’re ensure of why so many women get involved in IWD, and why it’s of such importance, just watch this video. I know it’s not exactly an official “moment”, but it’s something I watched that really resonated with me.

So, here’s hoping that this next year brings about greater change and continues the push towards equality. We’ve overcome a lot in the past 100+ years, but there’s still a long way to go.

Did you have a favourite moment, picture or video from yesterday? Share it in the comments or with me on Twitter!

Get involved in International Women’s Day by filling out the form below that asks, will you be bold for change?

How Netflix’s One Day at a Time is Paving the Way Towards Better TV

How Netflix’s One Day at a Time is Paving the Way Towards Better TV

Centred around a Cuban-American family, One Day at a Time (a reboot of the 1970-80’s sit-com) follows the lives of single mother Penelope Alvarez, her two children Alex and Elena and their Grandmother Lydia. This witty, woke and heart warming comedy provides absolutely everything, to absolutely everyone, in just 13 (roughly) 30 minute episodes. One Day at a Time is the latest Netflix original to show-up network TV in ALL the right ways.

From the very first episode, it’s evident that the show is going to excel. With a Latinx family at the forefront, One Day at a Time provides much needed representation to the community that’s been lacking it for centuries. What’s even better is that ODAAT successfully avoids conforming to harmful and repetitive stereotypes. Instead, it provides relatable, light-hearted and powerful characters.

Whilst providing this positive representation, One Day at a Time also does well in educating audiences who can’t identify with, or fully understand the character’s hardships and backstories. Especially when it comes to immigration. Immigration is rarely talked about in television, and when it is, it’s usually negative or the punch line to some unnecessary joke. But on multiple occasions, ODAAT fights against this. With everything that’s going on in society and politics, it’s refreshing to see walls get broken down.

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TV’s gotten better over the years at putting women in leading and powerful roles, and ODAAT adds to the list with Penelope, Elena and Lydia.

First off, Penelope (Justina Machado) is an ex-veteran dealing with PTSD and an injured shoulder having returned from Afghanistan. She’s a single mother who with the help of her own mother, has brought up two incredibly grounded children. She stands up for what’s right and doesn’t hesitate in putting someone in their place when they’re in the wrong. For example, when she finally speaks up about her painfully misogynistic colleague and quits her job after finding out he’s getting paid more than her. When her boss asks her to come back, it’s on her own terms of higher pay. It’s great to see this issue tackled in television, because it’s constantly getting shut down in reality.

Women experience injustice and ignorance in the workplace every day, and people seem to think that because it’s not happening to them, it’s not happening to anyone. We see the issue occur, we see Penelope fight against it and we see it get resolved. This is what I like to see go down.

We also see a lot of these issues tackled with Schneider (Todd Grinnell), the extended white family member who isn’t always perfect. He bends over backwards for the family and it’s evident how much they all look out for each other. But, there are multiple occasions in the show where he makes an unbeknown to him, ignorant remark. But what I love about ODAAT is how the other characters educate him on his ignorance. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just lived a life of more privilege and isn’t always conscious that what he’s saying is wrong – a trait that most of society today unfortunately carry. Schneider is educated by the Alvarez’s, accepts his errors and apologises for his remarks.

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Mental health issues are also tackled well with Penelope. One Day at a Time aren’t afraid of shutting down social stigmas and emphasise the internal struggles that sufferers go through. As she attends a group counselling session for veterans, we see Penelope begin to speak up about what she’s facing and share her story with those around her. We’re introduced to a wide array of females who with even just a few lines of dialogue, connect to the audience. We emphasise with them. We relate to them. They aren’t put in a position that tries to make us look down upon them and they’re perfectly placed in the shows diverse ensemble.

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Lydia Alvarez (Rita Moreno) is also another powerhouse. She’s fierce, loving and provides some of the best moments in the show. Although she comes into the odd conflict with her family members when her traditional Cuban values are questioned, she always expands her perspective and puts those she loves first.

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 And how can we talk about bad-ass females without mentioning Elena? Elena (Isabella Gomez) is undoubtedly the most vocal, and most woke when it comes to female empowerment. She knows what’s right and she’s not afraid to speak up about it. She not only educates those around her, but she educates the audience on topical issues too.

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But, that isn’t the only thing she stands out for. The shows central storyline is focused on Elena’s upcoming quinceañera. As it gets closer, she begins to dig deeper into understanding who she really is. Lydia wants her to find a boy to take, but Elena is unsure about her feelings and whether that’s something she really wants. It takes her a bit of a time, but she eventually realises that she’s gay and comes out to each of her family members.

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Elena’s entire coming out arc is both beautifully written and executed. Her coming out scene with Penelope was both raw and realistic and achieved what so many other shows have failed to do. It’s so common to see LGBT characters in TV be the centre of pain and heartbreak, and for their coming out stories to highlight disapproval and rejection, so this was refreshing to see.

With the bury your gays trope being the topic of conversation in TV last year, the call for better representation seems to be getting answered. Whilst other shows like Supergirl are also helping to set a much higher precedent, it’s great to see this continued amongst other platforms and networks. ODAAT have effortlessly displayed how it should be done.

One of the great things that ODAAT also did with Elena’s arc was show us it from the families perceptive. Seeing as the show is based around the strength and love of family, it would have been odd to see anything but that. Although Elena’s father fails to accept who his daughter is, the rest of the family come together for her with nothing but love and acceptance.

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I could go on for another 1000 words about the strength of this show, but instead I’ll say one more thing: go watch it. If you’ve already watched it, re-watch it. It’s really that good. One Day at a Time has done in 13 episodes what many shows can’t do in 3 seasons. Nothing is forced and nothing is done for the sake of “feeling obliged to do it”.

It’s the natural, relatable, easy-going piece of television that we need more and more of. Bring on season 2!

How You Can be Proactive in Helping Those Affected by Trump’s Muslim Ban

How You Can be Proactive in Helping Those Affected by Trump’s Muslim Ban

On Friday, Donald Trump signed a new executive order that prevents citizens from the 7 nations of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen entering the country. All of which are Muslim nations.

Across several airports in the U.S, hundreds of travellers were stopped and detained.

Since the order was signed, protests across airports begun and people from all areas of the world spoke out in outcry. It’s unlawful and inhumane that we’re living in a world where this can be passed. We know the conditions that these people are living in, and why they want to leave.

The order is currently temporary, in place for 120 days (Syrian refugees have been barred indefinitely), but what does it say about the future? If such a terrifying order can be put in place that will destroy and tamper with so many lives over the next few months, what’s going to happen if something more permanent comes into action?

Thankfully, work is already being done to go against it. Not only have the people of America rallied together in protest, but countries all around the world are speaking out about it too. The ACLU have already taken the order to court and successfully managed to get it blocked. This prevents refugees and immigrants who have arrived from being immediately deported. It’s not a constitutional ruling, but it provides a safety barrier for those currently being detained.

Now, it’s worth noting that I am not American, I’m British. But I don’t want to be silent on these issues just because it’s not affecting me. That’s besides the point. Just because you’re not being directly affected by something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for those that are.

How can you proclaim that you support all lives, when you don’t work on helping those that are being targeted? How can you proclaim that you support freedom, when you’re stopping people from being free?

A hashtag on Twitter shows support and raises awareness, but it only goes so far. If change is to be made, action has to be taken. Whether you’re in America and want to directly help, or are somewhere else in the world and want to try and make a difference, there are some things you can do.

First of all, if you’re travelling to the U.S from any of the banned nations, here is some advice that I stumbled across:

http://halaltequila.tumblr.com/post/156520473464/halaltequila-the-aclu-has-blocked-trumps

(This is outside of my area of knowledge and I wouldn’t want to give any incorrect advice, but hopefully some of the information in the above post may act as guidance. Talking to professionals is always the best course of action).

Now, for those wanting to be proactive:

DONATE:

There are many charities and organisations that work to provide aid to Muslims and refugees in need. If you want to make a contribution to them, no matter how big or small, here are just a few:

If you have any more that you’d like me to add to this, please just leave a comment and I can do so.

PROTEST:

Many people will argue that a protest wont achieve anything, but if our voices aren’t raised they’ll never be heard. Get out and rally for what you believe in. Show your support for those in need. Show your refusal to stand by and watch this happen.

See what’s going on in your area and if there’s something you can take part in.

ThinkProgress have a list of all the current protests going on in America currently.

Call Your Representatives 

If you want to make change, one of the best things you can do is get in touch with those in power. If enough people respond to what’s going on and demand for something to be done, action may be taken. You never know what impact it could have, and you have nothing to lose by doing it.

Americans:

  • If you want to know how to go about speaking to your representatives, click here.
  • After you’ve called, you can send an email too.

Brits:

  • Write to your local MP here.
  • Follow the information in this thread (petitions to sign etc):

Most importantly, stay educated. It’s our responsibility to act as a voice for those who can’t speak up and defend themselves. Defend those you know in real life. Speak up on social media. Stay up to date with what’s going on. If we don’t stay up to date, how can we ever help? Keep fighting and standing up for what you believe in.

If you have any other ways to help, please comment!

Why a Trump Presidency is a Step Backwards for Progression

Why a Trump Presidency is a Step Backwards for Progression

Why a Trump Presidency is a Step Backwards for Progression

For years, the fight for progression has strengthened and despite the continuous tragedies that still break the news every day, a future in which liberty may actually succeed seemed hopeful. But when a man who’s presidential campaign took pride and power in constantly belittling and tearing down minorities was victorious, a future of freedom and equality suddenly seems so much further away.

The comments made throughout the campaign were not hidden and they were not infrequent. The beliefs held by both Trump and Pence were not unknown by those who gave them their vote. Millions heard what was repeatedly said and made a conscious decision to vote for him anyway. To vote against black lives, hispanic lives, muslim lives, LGBTQ+ lives, women’s lives – the list only goes on.

Comments on the LGBTQ+ Community

  • Trump and Pence have both stated their desire to revoke the order that Obama signed which outlaws LGBT discrimination.
  • Trump said he would “strongly consider” repealing the legalisation of same sex marriage.

  • Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This allows businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community due to religious beliefs.
  • Pence called being gay a “pathological condition”
  • They are both very anti-transgender and have opposed the implementation of transgender bathrooms.
  • Pence is in favour of conversion therapy.

This is only a select number of comments/beliefs held by Trump and Pence on the LGBTQ+ community. Whether or not any anti measures will be implemented is a nightmare that is impossible to think about. But, the fact that two men with these beliefs have been put into a position of power is all the more terrifying. What’s worse is that so many people still gave them their support. So, consider both the emotional and physical threat that puts on the community.

Comments on Women

  • He’s verbally attacked multiple women, for example Rosie O’Donnell.
  • The Apprentice contestants were rated on their looks and he constantly sexualised them.
  • He stated that because of his power, it was ok to “grab women by the p****”. He defended his remarks by saying it was simply locker room talk.
  • These remarks have been going on for more than 30 years. Don’t believe me? Take a look.

Sadly this list doesn’t even cover half of the comments made. But, continuing to write them all out only makes me more disheartened.  Again, the fact that so many people still voted for Trump after having heard all of this shows how present sexism still is. Even more sickening is the fact that 42% of women gave Trump their vote. This only expresses how normalised these opinions on women have become.

Racist Comments

  • Trump made claims that Obama’s birth certificate was fake.
  • Wants to build an actual wall on the southern border and force Mexico to pay for it, as you do.
  • He said that Mexicans are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime and they’re rapists”
  • WHITE SUPREMACISTS SUPPORT HIM.
  • Blames black people and Hispanics for American crime.
  • He wants to ban Muslims from entering the country.
  • He stated the immigration situation is “completely out of control”, putting the fear of being deported on thousands of families. If you don’t understand the gravity of this, please watch actress Diane Guerrero speak out about her experience:

I really could go on for hours about the countless occasions Donald Trump has made blatant homophobic, sexist, racist and xenophobic comments, but frankly it would take too long and would only darken the mood even more.

It truly is terrifying that we live in a world where someone can not only get away with such statements, but get so much support having made them all. Whether this was a “front” and will change is completely besides the point. He still said them. He was still supported.

Also, this election has proven that the freedom that so many hoped was coming has been ripped away. Undoubtedly, millions of minorities in America will live in fear of what each day will bring as a direct result of this. Not that threats were non-existent before, but now it’s been made all the more clear through what people have chosen to stand for.

Just think, if boys listen to Trump’s remarks and see him in a high position, it’s not criminalising his behaviour, it’s making it out to be almost acceptable.This then encouraging some to follow in his footsteps. The exact same goes for homophobia and racism. This may only be heightened now and more will think they can get away with it.

I could discuss what a more optimistic future we may have had if Clinton had have been elected, but that would be of little use now. Instead it’s important to continue to fight for progress and to campaign for equality, no matter what the circumstances. If in the face of this, we can continue to grow as a community and unite together in support, then that would be a win. Because nobody should feel a sense of isolation. Hopefully, hope will triumph fear and love will trump hate.

You’re still supported, you’re still loved and you are most certainly not alone.

Suicide Helpline 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860

If you have any messages you’d like to add, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would gladly add them to this post.

A Woman’s Worth is Not Defined by Her Decision on Having a Child

A Woman’s Worth is Not Defined by Her Decision on Having a Child

As you may know through either experience or exposure, women are analysed and scrutinised in every aspect of their lives. The decisions they make, the clothes they wear, the people they’re with and the qualities they carry. Nothing’s left unjudged.

One topic that’s constantly being unnecessarily and disrespectfully discussed is why some women don’t have a child, whether by choice or by circumstance, and whether that makes them any less of a woman or any less worthy or respectable compared to those who do.

You may have recently read Jennifer Aniston’s article on the issue, “For the Record“, which inspired me to write this post. Aniston is probably the media’s most targeted victim when it comes to pregnancy speculation and gossip and her image and value are constantly being scrutinised because of it.

She began simply by setting the (broken) record straight. “For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.””.

Body shaming is a direct issue that arises through speculating whether a person is pregnant or not. Aniston especially experiences it, as the paparazzi are perpetually photographing her body for the tabloids to then go and shamelessly analyse. If her figure doesn’t match up to the standards of image created to judge women upon even further, then they’ll immediately begin to start the rumours. “Oh my god, her stomach isn’t flat in this picture!! She must be pregnant!!”

How can you not realise how insulting and insensitive that is to not just her, but to all women who may not conform to one specific body type?

“The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty.”

She then went on to discuss how society seems to define women based on their maternal and marital status. “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete” – which is exactly right. A woman should not be defined by whether she’s single or whether she’s without a child. She should not be questioned and her worth should not be taken away as a result.

Being a mother and being a worthy woman are not mutually exclusive. If you haven’t had a child, you’re not a failure and you’re not any less of a woman. You’re simply human. Our lives are made up of choices, and the option to have a child is just another choice that a woman can either choose to make or not. It’s not a necessity. It’s simply a choice.

It’s worth saying too, that nurturing and maternal qualities are not solely restricted to those who have a child of their own. Sure, it could be said that being a mother may open you up to displaying those qualities further, but that’s not to say that nobody else can possess them too.

Whether a woman is caring or empowering is because of who she is as a person. How she was brought up, who she was influenced by, who she wants to be – basically everything other than whether or not she’s a mother.

Why a woman may choose not to have a child is no-ones concern but hers. It’s high time society stopped pressurising and planning out our lives for us. Would a man be considered any less of a man if he decided he didn’t want children? No. Of course he wouldn’t. Because society seems to solely focus on dragging women through the dirt for doing nothing other than living their life to their choosing.

Stop speculating over something so trivial. Stop debating over decisions that are out of your concern. Stop questioning the choices we make just because they don’t fit in with what you consider to be “normal”. A woman is worthy of whatever she wants to be and importantly, who she chooses to be. Her worth cannot be measured and it cannot be taken away because she hasn’t ticked off a particular box on life’s long list of options.

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