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The Fight for Equality Goes On

The 21st century is meant to be an era of success for humankind, with more wealth and resources for everyone, creating new and improved technologies that make life easier, more equal opportunities for people to enjoy their everyday lives, more research into curing diseases, and looking into space, up at the stars, to find more meaning to our lives.

However, what we have found instead is everything is about profits; more money for the tiniest group who are the richest people on earth - and for the rest of us less and less - austerity and more austerity.

The profits created by billions of people, in fact created by billions of women who serve their families, multi-national companies, entire nations, for little or no pay, is funnelled into the hands of the few.

Billions and billions in profits that could give the entire population of the world a decent life, a more equitable life.

But no, what we see instead is more poverty, more unemployment, the promotion of unhealthy life styles while at the same time demolishing what counts as free health services. We see people oppressed, wars, conflicts, hate, violence, crime and unhappiness.

Every year women gather on International Women's Day to celebrate our existence, to value ourselves. No society anywhere would work, grow, exist without us. And yet, our worth and importance is constantly denied in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, India, Pakistan, Somali, Tibet and many more.

Every year we shout for equality, for equity, for freedom, and every year we are pushed back, pushed down and ignored.

Whether it is by nation states, multi-nationals, local businesses, or whatever represents the patriarchal powers in the world today, we are forever denied our true worth, our true value in society.

Let’s face it - the patriarchy prefers things as they are or better still they’d prefer to roll back what little equality, equity and freedom we currently have.

Every year we scream and shout, make statements and write manifestos hoping to prevent continued violence against women and girls, to show that we are strong and resilient, to show what we can do to make a better life for ourselves, and yet we fail.

Just look at this past decade, what has changed for women and children?

Look at those with unimaginable wealth, their giant houses, fleets of cars, the sheer amount of consumer goods they can afford and afford to throw away. All their dreams can come true.

And then, take a look at the lives of the rest of us!

Women with hungry children unable to feed them; women having to put up with sexism and sexual harassment at work; women sexually abused by husbands, boyfriends and strangers alike; women chained to the family home working like a slave under the strict man-dominated rules; women migrants fleeing war, persecution and discrimination; women trafficked into the sex trade; women in psychiatric units suffering abusive life experiences, or in prisons for fighting back; women under Taliban rule and the rule of ISIS or the Islamic Republic of Iran; bare-foot women and children after the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria; women in the war in Ukraine; women suffering in Chile, Brazil, the United States, across the globe, you name it.

All over the world, it’s time to say ‘Enough is enough!’ We can’t stand it any more and we don’t need to accept any of this way of life. There are enough resources for everyone and they are our resources, created by us, that have been stolen out from under us.

In this 21st century, it is not enough to go it alone, shout and fight against oppression, against hunger and inequality. It’s time for unity, for sisterhood and brotherhood. We all are in this together, we are all one, and we should be one for all!

This year the demand being made by women and human rights activists is to reach equity. Wherever you start in life, to lift everyone up as much or as little as they need so we are all at the same starting point.

That is my call too.

It’s not enough to fight for equality, when some people and communities are starting much further down the ladder than others. Equal opportunities doesn’t work in a society where some people experience a two-tire set of rules - laws and regulations that protect some but not others because of sex, race, religion, age or cultural discriminations.

We all need to get to the same equitable point, and guard fiercely against any actions trying to bring everyone DOWN to create equity rather than raising everybody UP.

Also, this year our demand goes universal.

In solidarity with the Iranian UPRISING and the brave women and young girls of the women’s liberation movement in Iran, we want to stand tall with the WOMEN, LIFE, FREEDOM movement.

If they win their battle against the Islamic Republic, so many more women and girls in that part of the world and beyond will be affected positively. It gives hope and courage to so many more women and freedom fighters to stand up for their rights.

Long Life International Women’s Day!

Happy Women’s Day!

In Solidarity with the Women’s Freedom Movement in Afghanistan

MEWSo Executive Director, Halaleh Taheri

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