Today is International Women's Day.
We shouldn't need a day or a month to celebrate how far we've come and where we still want to go. Yet, we also shouldn't miss an opportunity to celebrate how far we've come and remind ourselves where we want to go.
Even though I lament the fact that I'm American every time the World Cup rolls around, I really am grateful for being a U.S. citizen. I can vote without being hassled, I don't get sexually harassed when I go outside, I can get a driver's license, a bank loan or a job.
I am more than a maid, a sex object or a baby machine.
I can speak in public. I can disagree. I can run for office.
I can set my own goals, choose my path.
I can choose who I want to marry, and that contract does not take away any of my rights as a human being.
There was never a time when my parents didn't want me or when they wished I were a boy. Even in my teenage years.
However, as I read this, I'm thinking about all of the women worldwide for whom the above statements are not true. Women being objectified, being oppressed, being abused and being told they are second-class citizens are not banes of the past. They're happening today, just not here where I can see them plainly. But throughout the world — even here, in Provo, Utah — women get less in life because they are women. Because they are physically weaker. Because they are less decisive. Because they are smaller and quieter. Because they are less bold, pushy or demanding. Because they don't complain or care more than they should for appearances. Because that's the way they were raised. Because this happens to every woman. Because they tell themselves they deserve it.
We still have a long way to go. Women and children shouldn't be in crisis. Utah women should not go to college at a lesser rate than women nationwide. Women should not be forced into wifehood or motherhood, and no one should ever be forced into any kind of servitude. We as a worldwide society should take victims of domestic violence seriously. We should listen to the women of the Middle East, China, Colombia and Haiti, the women of New York, New York, Memphis, Tennessee, and Kemmerer, Wyoming.
And we should all be feminists, whether you're a man or a woman. We all should have the same rights. We all should be able to dream. We all should want every person, man or woman, to reach his or her potential and do all we can to help. As long as any man, woman or child is downtrodden, all of society, all of the world, suffers because of that. We need to help each other.