Today is International Women’s Day, a day where we celebrate women and their achievements and taking action against inequality.
This year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. It’s often hard to challenge people we don’t know, and even those we do. After reading a job advert on a local Facebook page looking for “young men only”, I supported another female’s comment and chose to challenge the original poster, stating that it was illegal to advertise a role in which you discriminate against people based on their gender and age.
Hot on my heels was a man calling me a “typical feminist” and he clearly didn’t mean it as a compliment! Luckily I knew an admin of the page and requested that the original post be removed, which it promptly was. I messaged the original poster, who’s reasoning was that they already had a team with a mix of men and women, but they specifically wanted a young male this time.
On the local Facebook page I’m referring to you can’t comment on anything without strong close-minded opinions for and against what you have to say. But what annoyed me the most was that the man who saw fit to retaliate to my comment had women in his profile picture. These women, it would appear, were his partner/wife and two daughters and I wondered, are they aware that this is how he feels? Do they challenge him on his opinions of women or do they dismiss it? Does he show these feelings when he’s with them and how has that shaped their opinions? Is he even aware that his comment supports sexism and that’s how we would be seen?
There was no thought given to the fact that he too was being discriminated against. He was not what would be described as young and therefore wouldn’t be able to apply even if he had wanted to.
As I said earlier it is hard to challenge others, but if we all celebrate and support women more, raise awareness of gender bias and inequality, and #ChooseToChallenge ourselves and those around us we will make a huge impact. Every day progress is made by taking these steps, no matter how small.