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Thoughts on International Women's Day

Published by Maureen Holland

I have mixed thoughts on International Women's Day, perhaps best encapsulated by the gender pay gap bot that notes discrepancies between a company's social media messages and real-world actions.

(The bot didn't run this year, I assume because something with the API is now behind a paywall or full of breaking changes or on fire or some such)

Another part is simply feeling uncomfortable with a sudden spotlight on my gender, which isn't top of my mind most days. It's kind of like thinking about breathing and then finding it difficult to breathe. Being a woman is part of who I am, but it seems like such a basic part that it's strange to suddenly foreground it.

On the other hand: patriarchy.

Yeah, I don't mind having a day to call out the discrepancy between our ideals and our reality, to acknowledge there's work to be done, and to thank the women, past and present, who agitate for change.

My company sometimes sends chocolates to female and non-binary employees to celebrate International Women's Day. Now, I will never turn down free chocolate (nor free pizza, whisky, or trips to Scotland if anyone from work is reading this). It's a kind and thoughtful gesture that takes time to execute. But it is particularly appreciated because it is completely unnecessary.

A gesture like that can only be accepted if it is in addition to and not in place of structural equality.

silverorange does all the things that matter to me every damn day of the year:

If your company does not do these things, please don't wait till next year to make changes.