It is International Women’s Day and I feel so sad. As a mother, I look at my children and fear that with each passing year, the safety and sustainability of our planet and our society slips further from our reach.
As an entrepreneur, I am programmed to be an optimist and a problem solver. Yet this International Women’s Day, coming off the back of the Australian bushfire disaster, witnessing the fear and racism of COVID-19 and the world’s borders closing, listening to shameful words escaping the mouths of so many world leaders, and reading of daily violent crimes perpetrated against women, I am feeling lost, depressed and full of rage.
Our children are truly terrified that they are growing up in a world where climate change will mean less water and food, more extinctions and more natural disasters. They fear the collapse of everything that currently makes them feel safe.
My fear is that I will not be able to deliver to my daughter and my sons a world that is built on love, respect, kindness and compassion. I include my sons this International Women’s Day, because the most hopeful thing I see in my children’s generation is gender-blindness. I feel their generation holds so much hope for us, yet the world we are supposedly leading them into is so broken in so many ways. Hope without leadership comes to naught.
Gender inequality remains the greatest inequality, as it affects the greatest number of people on this planet. It does not matter what background or economic status a woman is operating in, she will face discrimination, harassment, intimidation and violence – solely based on her gender.
It has to stop. And men have to stop getting angrier and angrier at us because we demand our right to equality, and to no longer live in fear of them. How can it be 2020, with so many women living in societies that are stuck in the Middle Ages? It is unacceptable. It has to stop.
All I wish for my daughter, and the next generation of young women, is for her to be able to walk alone during the day and night, and not fear for her safety. I want her to be able to choose whatever career she wants at equal pay, and without fear of gender-based harassment and intimidation. I want her to feel strong, empowered, respected and safe in her relationships. I want her to feel she has full access to education, healthcare, banking and investments.
This International Women’s Day, I pray with all my heart that my daughter and all the daughters of the world will never have to utter the words #MeToo ever again.