There’s a copy/paste going around Facebook, sharing a woman’s feelings about why she didn’t march in the Women’s Marches yesterday.
Essentially it boiled down to “why would I whine about what I have here, when women around the world have so many fewer rights.”
Here’s why it bothers me.
It’s an all too common reply when people want to make social change, to bring up conditions in the rest of the world.
The fact is, that we don’t live elsewhere. We live here. And I do not mean to undermine the conditions that exist in other countries (in fact, I do what I can to support humanitarian causes to improve those), but I want to point out something fundamentally simple:
You can fight for the equality you should have in this country, while doing what you can to help women elsewhere. In fact, women of the US – if you were to help fight for wage equality here, that would give you extra money to help women world-wide.
But instead, you call protestors whiners, who simply don’t recognize what a great life they have. I can assure you that isn’t the case.
Instead, they’re women who recognize that they live in one of the leading countries in the world. And the only one where they don’t have equal access to healthcare. One where they have to be concerned that they’re being paid at most 79 cents on the dollar compared to male counterparts. And that’s just white women.
When you say it isn’t worth complaining, you tell me that it’s okay that Hispanic women on average, make 55 cents for every dollar that a white man makes in this country. You tell me that it’s okay that we have to work at least twice as many hours to try to make up the difference, to provide our families the same life.
You say that it’s okay for the majority of us to live with barriers that keep us from moving up in the world. Whether it’s being able to make enough to afford an apartment and stop living on the street, or being able to afford to buy a house. Or buy a brand new car instead of a used car that will lead to endless repairs (and eat up what little money they did have). Or save to send their children to college. To support their parents.
It hurts because I see these same people apply these same complaints to any protest regarding equality in the US – yet complain when the United States gives foreign aid to other countries.
You can’t complain about both those situations, unless you’re satisfied that the system works well enough for you.
They walk, they fight, to make things better in the United States – so that we can acknowledge that the very truths laid out in the documents that shaped our country are true. That this is a country where all are equal.
And the beautiful thing about it, is that when the US thrives, we can use our own privilege to help those countries. Whether it’s on a personal or national level.
But we don’t. We turn away refugees. We donate money to worldwide causes when celebrities fundraise, but stop as soon as the cameras and headlines are gone.
If you want to complain that protestors are whining when they already have so much? You’d better be putting your money where you mouth is and be doing something to raise the situations of women world-wide.
Apathy put us in the exact position we are in. In the US and world-wide. So stop being apathetic, and if you really care about the issues of the world, do something.
Here are three organizations you should support to help women internationally:
Girls Not Brides