Smashing the Glass Ceiling
By Hannah Cross
On March 8th, I woke up with resolute conviction to embrace International Women’s Day more than I had in previous years. After some consideration, I decided I would post an Instagram story series of women who inspire me. I even threw in a few extra Snapchat stories, taking advantage of the extra filters and stickers available for the day. As I admired my perfectly curated Instagram story and scrolled through a plethora of other similar posts, I thought: “Why do we feel like we need a day to speak out about our experiences as women?”
As women – as humans – we should feel able to discuss issues that affect or concern us when we please, and we should always take the opportunity to uplift those around us, especially our fellow women.
Conversely, men, at the top of the patriarchal power structure, don’t need to establish their power and tell us that they are in fact powerful. Herein lies the problem: the fact that women must tell the public that they, too, are powerful, is an inherent weakness in the fight for equality.
While the existence of International Women’s Day is a triumph in itself, it is still framed within this power system. Women remain on an uneven playing field by having the need to say that we are powerful. While it’s something already assumed and accepted for men, it needs to be continuously reinforced and vocalised by women, for women. This kind of deep-seated, naturalised oppression cannot simply be undone with a few social media posts and haphazard words about womanhood in all its glory and cruelty. It sure helps, but the fight is much larger than that.
It goes without saying that International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women and to speak out, protest, and challenge. It is a day to look at the progress we’ve made, albeit slow, and think about the work we still have left to do. But why aren’t we doing this every day? The fight for equality must be more than just tokenism. I don’t need a special day to tell my mum or my best friend that she inspires me. I don’t need to hashtag #womancrushwednesday or #wcw on social media to post about women I admire.
The advent of social media has skyrocketed the reach of women’s voices in the virtual world and its potential as a tool for change is huge. The rise in feminist publications and social media accounts shows that we can use social media to document our experiences in a meaningful way. It is important to continue highlighting women’s issues – especially in the current political climate – and we should be finding strength every day to be vocal about women in the public sphere. The women we admire, the women who challenge us, and ourselves as women.
The fight will continue for women’s rights every other day of the year, so why not give that fight a voice as loud as the one we deliver on International Women’s Day? Let’s speak up, speak out, and call on our fellow females to do the same on the daily. Let’s not just break the glass ceiling, let’s turn on the lights inside and let women shine through.