"If you commemorate Women's Day, why not men's?": why this and other phrases circulating on 8M are inappropriate or wrong

(CNN Spanish) — March 8 arrives and, inevitably, a question begins to circulate on social networks (and maybe even at family gatherings): “If you commemorate Women’s Day, why not men’s?”. They are followed, in some cases, by slogans such as “neither male chauvinist nor feminist.” And there is no shortage of people who accuse women of being intolerant because “you can no longer say a compliment to them on the street“.

These postulates are not only wrong but they minimize the problems that women face for the mere fact of being women.

Here we explain it with five examples.

“If you commemorate Women’s Day, why not Men’s Day?”

“The answer is very simple and is based on evidence, on statistics regarding the gender gaps that exist in all countries,” Magdalena Furtado, representative of UN Women in Uruguay, explains to CNN en Español.

“There is no country in the world that has achieved substantive equality between men and women. The day that gender gaps —the gap in all indicators in all areas between women and men— are closed and that violence towards women, that day, luckily and happily, there will no longer be a need to remember March 8 as International Women’s Day,” she explains.

If there are two candidates for a position, who do you prefer to hire? 2:33

Some figures about work and political participation to refresh your memory: Globally, the wage gap between men and women is 23%, according to the UN. This means that for every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 77 cents, and the difference widens if she has children.

What about political participation? Latin America, to mention an example, has less than 30% of women in ministerial positions.

And a bit of history: International Women’s Day, explains the UN, has its origins precisely in the demonstrations at the beginning of the 20th century in which women demanded equality, better working conditions and the right to vote. The United Nations celebrates it since 1975.

“Neither machismo nor feminism”

“Many times it is thought that ‘feminist’ is the opposite of ‘machista’ and no, they are two totally different concepts because what machismo does is promote the superiority of men, the domination of men over women, and feminism that it defends is precisely equality, equal rights and opportunities (between men and women),” explains Furtado.

And it is not a question of interpretation: is clearly defined in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. Feminism, according to the RAE, is the “principle of equal rights for women and men” and the movement that fights for the realization of this principle. “Machismo”, meanwhile, is defined as “attitude of arrogance of men towards women” and “form of sexism characterized by the prevalence of men.”

Therefore it is a false opposition.

“How can I be macho if I grew up surrounded by women and have a wife and daughters?”

You can grow up surrounded by women, be in a relationship with a woman, have female daughters, female friends and even still be macho. one thing does not have absolutely nothing to do with the other.

“Being a son, brother, boyfriend, husband does not exempt any man from having assumed macho behaviors. Because macho behaviors are a product, they are the result of social norms or stereotypes that exist in society. And what does this mean? say that a society by culture, by tradition, by normalizing certain behaviors, assigns roles, assigns different permissions, rights and prohibitions to men and women”, explains Furtado.

And to this explanation, two notes:

1- Macho behaviors are not exclusive to men. There are also sexist women.

2- That comment also proves one of the many inequalities derived from machismo. Growing up surrounded by women, Furtado explains, you are most likely either a woman or a man because women historically have been, and continue to be today, the ones who occupy the role of caregivers. Which brings us to the next postulate.

Women continue to be at a wage disadvantage in the US. 1:17

“I’m not sexist, I help with the housework and take care of the children”

This affirmation is linked to the place that society assigns to women and men with regard to caring for children and the home. Furtado explains that, historically, women have been assigned the role of caregiver and the man from helper when in reality these tasks are “the responsibility of the members of a family nucleus or of the couple” and the approach, which is the one promoted by the UN, should be of “co-responsibility”.

Behind this phrase is, in fact, the mother of inequalities.

“If we look at the structural inequalities that exist in the region, we see that the base or the main inequality from which all other inequalities arise is the inequality of the sexual division of labor or the different use of time. What does this mean? “That the day has 24 hours and we see that most of the time dedicated to women is assigned to care tasks, to domestic tasks, which are all unpaid tasks,” explains Furtado. For men, meanwhile, that percentage is reversed and that is where the “help” thing comes from.

Again, a number is worth a thousand words: Women do at least 2.5 times more unpaid care and housework than men, according to the United Nations. In Mexico, for example, women dedicate an average of 30 hours to domestic work. Men, meanwhile, dedicate 10.

“You can no longer say a compliment to women”

Intolerant. Uncompromising. Extremists. fanatics. There is a long series of synonyms that some people use to describe those women who, in their words, “can no longer say a compliment”.

That reference to the compliment, says Furtado, “is precisely trivializing what really happens to women in public spaces,” where they are subjected to “the threat of street sexual harassment and other forms of violence.”

“The woman does not ask anyone to express an opinion on anything or to do anything, (what) can range from saying things that the woman is not interested in hearing, rudeness, referring to her body, touching, whistling,” he emphasizes. Furted.

This is how the pandemic impacted women, according to the UN 3:51

Again, the figures speak for themselves. A study carried out by UN Women within the framework of a safe cities program for women and girls reports that, with regard to public space, 96.3% of women in Mexico City “have suffered sexual violence at least once throughout his life”. In Guatemala City, meanwhile, of the women who participated in a study on the subject, 100% stated that they had suffered some type of harassment. In Quito, to mention another example, the figure rises to 91%.

So no, it’s not that women can no longer be said a compliment: it’s that, both in the public and private spheres, women continue to be victims of harassment and violence at levels that are they even consider a pandemic and that, year after year, they end up with the femicide of thousands of women in the region.

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