We haven’t come a long way, baby.

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

It has taken every fiber of my being not to comment on the complete train-wreck going on in the United States right now what with congress debating contraception and Rush (Big, Fat Idiot) Limbaugh’s comments towards a Georgetown female student. After all, I don’t live there. But as someone who is seeing this from the outside, let me just say that it’s this kind of backward thinking that has the rest of the world looking at you as a joke, America. Before moving on to another topic, I will say that Rush Limbaugh and his Tea Party cronies have done American women a favour. By spouting off their true colours, they have shown the next generation of young women voters that feminism is not only still a relevant cause to fight for, but just how tenuous their rights are in their own country.

As a feminist, I can’t help but look at International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month as little patronizing pats on the head. We won’t be truly equal until we no longer need a day or a month telling us how we are appreciated. I do understand the importance of a movement that helps stop violence against women, but why should that only be publicized on the eighth day of the month of March? Feminists are working every day to increase awareness and change laws to protect women world wide. We really don’t need a day of the year dedicated to us to make us feel that our efforts are being recognized. You want to make us feel that way? Work with us and not against us. There are still many atrocities being committed against women all over the world, from rape as a weapon of war, to female circumcision, to honour killings. Women’s rights are not nearly equal to those of men. Even in North America (yes, Canada too), women still don’t have equal pay for equal work. Now as much, if not, more than ever before the feminist movement is necessary.

So, Happy International Women’s Day. What are you going to do about it?

For information on how you can get active, here are three great places to start.

http://www.oxfam.org/

http://feminist.org/

http://www.now.org/

It’s a crime (part two)

Why is prostitution illegal? It really is a victim-less crime. Oh, sure a case could be made that the wives of the male customers are the victims, but, without prostitutes, these men would find somebody else to cheat with. Actually by keeping prostitution illegal, the real victims become the prostitutes, themselves.

If you look at the countries that have legal prostitution, the women who ply this trade have less instances of violence, have less STDs and have less social stigma attached to what they do, which, in turn, gives them a better quality of life.

In countries where prostitution is illegal, sex trafficking is a real problem, STDs run rampant, prostitutes are not protected by the law, so there are more instances of violence perpetrated upon them. These women live in fear of being jailed, beaten or worse on a daily basis.

If your daughter chose to be a prostitute, which of these two lives would you prefer she lived?

There will always be a demand for sex, so there will always be a supply. Keeping prostitution illegal only serves to vilify women who choose to profit from their own sexuality, (and we all know how scary a woman’s sexuality is, just look at how many women are still getting female circumcisions forced upon them on a daily basis worldwide).

We have come a long way, baby, but the road ahead is just as long, if not longer.