By Emma McGuigan
Every year, March 8th marks the occasion of International Women’s Day. This year, I had the pleasure of hosting a takeover on Xpress Radio where we broadcasted all female vocals and women’s day centred shows. We teamed up with societies that showcased sexual health, domestic violence awareness, and breast cancer research; this has by far been my proudest achievement as station manager this year.
However, alongside the wonderful support we received, there was, the discomfort of a few. We were met with cries of, “When’s International Men’s Day?” (November 19th, by the way) and “We don’t need a day for this, we should respect women every day!” We should of course respect everyone every day; regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion, or any intersectional differences they may have. There will be those of you out there thinking, “I treat all the women in my life with respect,” which is of course great. However, ask those women yourself if they feel satisfied with the respect you give them before you say this so freely. And secondly, ask yourself if it’s only the women closest to you that you are concerned about, rather than women as a whole – it is International Women’s Day, after all. Sometimes these things can be hard to swallow, and I know that there are those of you out there that do wonderful things for the progression of equality and understanding.
I myself am surrounded by many wonderful men in my life, men who lift me up and teach me as I teach them. I have men in my life who challenge me, and those that comfort me; oftentimes these are the same men. But International Women’s Day is about me, and every woman, and how we are still so very far from having an equal place in this world. But it is also about me, and every woman, and the wonderful things we have achieved despite this.
At this point, there are countless articles and research available for anyone to find out how women aren’t equal in our society, it’s time we take charge of our own education and hold ourselves accountable. This applies woman to woman as well, because if our feminism isn’t intersectional, it disadvantages others as we feel disadvantaged now. This cause is for everyone, and the responsibility for change is shared between us all. Therefore, instead of writing about how women suffer in society, I want to use my place and my voice to celebrate celebrate the awesome women around me, here in student media that maybe don’t see the powerhouses they are.
Molly Jackson handles every task with an “I can” attitude, always going the extra mile and brings light and laughter into every room she enters. Rachel Jefferies and Liz Mills run sections of student media with a firm hand and a patient mind – they have made changes to their sections that will honour them forever. Meg Sharma has thrown herself into both Xpress and Gair Rhydd, both her energy and work ethic impress me every day. Rachel Shuttleworth composes beautiful music for her CUTV projects, Anja Quinn has a brilliant softness that can conquer any task, and Jess Warren’s love for this earth is close to unparalleled. Alongside these women, are so many others in Student Media who make it what it is. I am so proud to call them my peers and friends.
International Women’s Day is a time to shed light on what we have done, pausing for a moment to congratulate ourselves before we continue on our march for equality. We need to build each other up, walk with each other while we work for this world to become a better place beyond the touch of our own lives.
While we continue to #PressForProgress, we need to remember those with less privilege than ourselves. We need to listen, and explain, and remain warm in a world that can at times be so bitter. This past Thursday reminds me that we can use any opportunity given to us to create a catalyst for change, because the time for change is now.