Key to Europe

By Antonia von Richthofen, Policy Officer, Equal Rights Working Group

Celebrated since 1911, the 8th of March or International Women’s Day, is recognized worldwide, in some regions even as an official holiday. However today is so much more than just a reason to show gratitude to your mother, sister or friend.

 

Today we celebrate equality, we raise awareness of those women who fought and still fight for their rights to vote, to work and to make autonomous decisions upon their bodies, health and sexual lifes. The rapid change we undoubtedly made since 1911, the shift towards a more inclusive society in terms of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, could only have been accomplished through the struggles and the courage of those people.

 

Yet we still face many issues that seem to impede our progress towards equality. Socially accepted destructive behaviours and discrimination are part of our society today, as they were 100 years ago, and several events in 2018 have proven this once again. Especially due to the #MeToo movement, which started in late 2017, harassment, abuse and exclusion of women have been called out intensely and gained more and more attention by media and public in general. One could say it has finally reached the peak of public interest, in order to be discussed and acknowledged as a problem we have to tackle and fix to create a more inclusive society. Even though we are observing many worrisome developments, for instance the ongoing fight on abortion legislation, there is overall in Europe a change in perception of social behaviours, be it against women or other discriminated groups. We are possibly witnessing even an increase in compassion and comprehension for these social problems, and hopefully the first step towards a truly meaningful shift in society.

 

These efforts are just one of many achievements we want to look back on today, on this International Women’s Day. The empowerment many women were able to gain, while sharing their own stories, accusing and identifying their abusers, or while gaining knowledge on the experiences others made and calling out the injustice they face daily has been already truly remarkable by itself. However, the fact that toxic and abusive behaviors and publicly lived and experienced sexism have been unquestioned and accepted for so long, is saddening and outrageous.

 

For that reason we must raise our voices today once again, for our rights and for the rights of all women, young, old, trans, cis, hetero, and belonging to all ethnicities and nationalities, to claim equal treatment and equal opportunities.

 

Today we stand up for an inclusive and fair society, for a #balance between all genders in all spheres, be it in the government, media coverage, economy, wealth or sport.

 

Join us, since this change will not just happen by itself. Creating real equality needs all of us, our voices and our actions to truly break the degrading and exclusive culture in many countries and many social groups. We want to #BalanceForBetter and create a world everyone can live balanced in.

 

Therefore we, the Equal Rights Working Group of AEGEE-Europe, want to be part of this movement, too, fighting for a more inclusive Europe and a more inclusive AEGEE, stepping up for an open-minded, democratic and equal society.

We are the next generation who will shape the future, we are the ones deciding upon the Europe we will live in. Let us all together stand up straight for equality and inclusion, in AEGEE and in the world! Share this message, be part of our social media campaign and become active.

 

Follow the page of Equal Rights Working Group of AEGEE-Europe for more or write an e-mail at erwg@aegee.org if you have any concern or want to cooperate in a future activity.

 

#BalanceForBetter #IWD2019

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